Economics Health care The Opinionsphere

Our Health Care Systems Undermines Entrepreneurship

[digg-reddit-me]Ezra Klein brings together Andrew Sullivan and economist Jon Gruber to talk about entrepreneurship and health care. Quoting Gruber:

A system that provides universal access to health insurance coverage, then, is far more likely to promote entrepreneurship than one in which would-be innovators remain tied to corporate cubicles for fear of losing their family’s access to affordable health care. Indeed, even the Galtians among us should be celebrating the expanded potential for individual enterprise once the chains tying them to a job that provides insurance have been broken.

I think this argument should be more prominent in the debate – not because it’s the most important element – but because it demonstrates how integral to our economy health care is and undermines key right-wing critiques.

I wrote about this earlier in the summer:

If one wants to stimulate the economy by encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurship, there are few better ways to do it than to pass some sort of health care reform that makes it cheaper and more available outside of large employers. As Daniel Gross, financial columnist for Newsweek and Slate, explains:

An affordable national health care policy, which could allow people to quit their jobs and launch businesses without worrying about the crippling costs of premiums or medical costs, might be a better spur to risk-taking than targeted small-business loans.

I say this as a former small business owner and entrepreneur myself. One of my biggest concerns in working outside of an established business was that I was not able to get my health care through my job – which meant astronomical monthly premiums for a service I did not use – but which I could not be sure I would not badly need.

[Image by Matt McGee licensed under Creative Commons.]