Will health care law spur entrepreneurs?

Protestors stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The Court found the Affordable Healthcare Act to be constitutional.

Jeff Horwich: So far, small-business groups have mostly panned the Affordable Care Act. They dislike the paperwork, and the fines for not offering employees health coverage. But for some entrepreneurs, it might clear a big obstacle to starting a company.

From our entrepreneurship desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, here's Mitchell Hartman.


Mitchell Hartman: Entrepreneurs will be able to shop for group health plans on new insurance exchanges. Today, they’re stuck with individual plans -- skimpy and expensive.

Sara Horowitz of the Freelancers Union says that’ll give every American:

Sara Horowitz: The same kind of health care, whether they work for themselves, for a small company, a big company. The idea that good benefits only come with jobs is over.

Anyone whose job doesn’t come with insurance, will have to buy it -- or pay a penalty. The National Association for the Self-Employed complains that’s a financial burden.

But entrepreneurship scholar Vivek Wadhwa says the benefits outweigh the costs.

Vivek Wadhwa: The average age of a technology entrepreneur is 39. ‘What happens if I have a heart attack? What happens if I get ill?’ So this is going to make a big difference in the ability of people to start companies. So that all they have to worry about is their business plan, not health insurance.

Wadhwa launched a startup, and five years later, had that heart attack. By then, he could afford insurance. Otherwise, he’d be bankrupt -- and the startup could have failed.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

 

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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