The Supreme Court today affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. With that uncertainty behind us, I feel it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to focus their energies on uniting around a single healthcare reform that will create jobs and facilitate greater innovation in America.
As a young single person, I don’t have the same worries that many have taking the risk of starting a new company. So I can afford a reasonable individual health plan, without sacrificing my entrepreneurial spirit. But many older creative people, or those with families, cannot. Instead, they remain in stagnant positions because they need health insurance continuity, rather than starting their own companies or even simply joining smaller less secure ventures. When you factor in those individuals and/or their family members who may have chronic conditions – more restrictions are placed on those individuals seeking a better or more entrepreneurial opportunity. This restricts employees from becoming employers and reduces the velocity of our nation’s job creation.
So what needs to be done? At the core – we must fundamentally change how we pay for healthcare. By its very nature, the employer-provided health insurance system of today limits portability, and restricts employees from becoming entrepreneurs.
I believe the single most important reform needed is to provide true health insurance portability – and here’s why:
If employees “owned” their insurance they would have the ability to navigate jobs, start their own companies or simply join a start-up – and our economy would see rapid growth and accelerated innovation. Just think, somewhere, right now there may be a brilliant scientist who could invent a cure for cancer or a software engineer who could develop a company to prevent cyber attacks on our nation’s energy grid – but they are unable to pursue their business ideas, because their child may have a chronic disease.
Our current healthcare system prevents the needed “risk taking” required for entrepreneurship – and so ideas are stifled and dreams never become a reality. Regardless of your political persuasion entrepreneurs should unite around the common belief that everyone should control their own healthcare and own their health insurance and ultimately their own destiny.
Everyone should have the ability to pursue their dreams – and together we can make that happen.
Alex Meshkin (@alexmeshkin) is a co-founder of GroupMD, a patient care social network enabling healthcare providers to communicate, collaborate and coordinate care.