Despite their recent failure, efforts to repeal Obamacare are already negatively affecting our economy, including job creation. It’s the uncertainty, stupid!
For example, one person who has been planning on starting her own business says:
If Obamacare gets repealed, I’m anxious. What do I do? Right now, there is just so much instability. I don’t know how that will shift the market and what that will mean for health insurance costs in terms of small businesses … This could be the thing that deters us from moving forward.
According to an article in Health Affairs:
Lawmakers who dream of gutting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not seem to care about its importance to small business owners, particularly those who are solo entrepreneurs. What these politicians fail to understand is that the health care law is the first meaningful insurance reform available to entrepreneurs in decades. In fact, for many self-employed business owners, their firms would not exist without it. That’s why repealing the law is going to be a sizable setback for entrepreneurship.
Interestingly, this is happening at the same time that the meaning of employment is undergoing a profound shift. In places like California, more and more people are not working in traditional permanent full-time jobs. Instead, they are part of the “gig economy”, relying on temporary jobs, freelance gigs like Lyft and Uber, part-time work, and entrepreneurial ventures. None of these forms of employment offer health care and other benefits.
What this means is that the repeal of Obamacare (or even the threat of it) will result in “job lock” because people won’t leave their current jobs for fear that they will lose their health insurance.
And all of this points to a fundamental problem. In the US, health insurance is tied to big employers, in an economy where fewer and fewer people are earning their living that way. Indeed, our current health insurance system is an accident of history:
How did Americans end up with a system in which employers pay for our health insurance? After all, they don’t pay for our groceries or our gas.
It is time to separate our health insurance from our employment. For the sake of our economy, and our health.