The latest news surrounding our nation’s healthcare has kept many on the edges of their seats, but for the moment, those who most benefit from the Affordable Care Act can breathe a sigh of relief. The recent efforts in Congress to repeal and replace the ACA have failed, at least for this year. The U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has been looking to create bipartisan legislation to help stabilize ACA insurance markets for 2018. Those discussions apparently are continuing, but under the media’s radar.
That’s good news for entrepreneurs and for the economy. An increase in small businesses and the burgeoning gig economy are providing opportunities to many who otherwise had been left out in the cold by corporate restructurings over the past several years or were feeling trapped in unfulfilling jobs. Being able to obtain affordable healthcare under the ACA can arguably be cited as contributing to this rise in entrepreneurship. In February, Fortune reported that a survey from Thumbtack found that one-third of the 5,400 small business owners polled started their businesses thanks to the confidence that they could obtain healthcare through the ACA.
A family profiled by the Kaiser Health News was additional confirmation of the ACA’s role in encouraging new entrepreneurs to step forward. Stinson Dean, the owner of a small U.S. lumber business with Canadian suppliers, said that his whole leap into the unknown world of entrepreneurship was fueled by the promise of healthcare through the ACA for himself and his growing family. He’s not alone, as many entrepreneurs have opened operations knowing that healthcare is available to them through the ACA. A 2017 working paper from the U.S. Department of Treasury found that almost one in ten small business owners rely on ACA marketplace coverage as their source of health insurance. In addition, 11% of gig economy workers obtain health coverage through the ACA marketplace.
Today’s great idea can evolve into tomorrow’s major corporation, but what happens if the brains behind the business never start it for fear that they or a family member may fall ill with no healthcare insurance available?
For now, business entrepreneurs appear to be in the clear. The ACA remains the law of the land. However, as the continuing efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the ACA demonstrates, that feeling of relief could be short-lived.
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