In: entrepreneur10 Aug 2009
I don’t usually express my personal viewpoint of political debates on this blog, but there is one subject I would like to chime in on: national health care.
Employer-provided health insurance is one of the main reasons that having a standard, full-time job is still viewed as “safe.” Watching how companies responded to the economic meltdown by conducting layoffs and requiring furloughs has shown there is no such thing as a steady paycheck. When you work for someone else, you have placed the financial security of your family and yourself in the hands of that company. But primarily because of health benefits, we still view working for someone else as a conservative decision.
Walking Away From “Safe”
Taking the leap into self-employment and launching a small business can be scary. For many people, walking away from employer-provided health insurance is the hardest thing to do. Even young people just starting out fall into this trap. When you are graduating college and will no longer be covered under your parents’ insurance, you feel the need to go and find a job right away to get your own insurance. A study done by Harvard University a few years back showed that almost 50% of all personal bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses. So it’s not an unfounded fear. One major health incident while uninsured can quickly lead to financial ruin.
But what if we had national health care? What if the fear of not having health insurance were removed from the equation? Dan Gillmor posted his thoughts on the debate on BoingBoing and sums it up with this quote:
The day we have national health care is the day that we unleash a wave of entrepreneurship the likes of which we’ve never seen before. That’s one of the best reasons for moving toward such a system.
Providing national health care would allow this nation’s best and brightest citizens to pursue their ideas without the fear of getting sick and ruining their lives. It would spark a new revolution of entrepreneurship that would help this country remain a global leader of innovation.
Ideas Don’t Require Money, They Require Time
While the Industrial Revolution required capital to buy land, build factories and hire large amounts of workers, the current situation is much different. In our world today, such capital isn’t required to launch an idea. Anyone can start a business at a much lower cost, taking advantage of our flat, connected globe. What we don’t have is the freedom to spark this new wave of small businesses because everyone is spending their time working for someone else. National health care would be an incredible leap towards providing that freedom.
It is unfortunate that this issue has become, like everything else, so politicized. I don’t view this as a Red vs. Blue, Liberal vs. Conservative issue. Politicians on both sides of the aisle say they are concerned with supporting small businesses. Establishing a national health care system would be one of the greatest benefits you could provide to entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country.
As the debate rages on, people remain behind a desk, working for someone else, dreaming of some game-changing idea. Let’s hope Washington is ready to help these people bring those ideas to life.
One of the Co-Founders of SideTour, former TechStar (NYC Summer 2011), ex-NBA'er, and past TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Winner.