It’s not just the whiny underemployed — the high cost of health care may be stifling America’s entrepreneurial spirit:
Entrepreneurs have plenty of things to keep them awake at night worrying: payroll, inventory, pricing, competition. For Jere Smith and her husband, Don Lueders, the main thing is health insurance.
Many small-business owners struggle with the high cost of health insurance, but it is even more critical for entrepreneurs with ventures less than five years old, the time when a business tries to build its clientele and profits. And because many start-ups typically include few employees, if any, they cannot always take advantage of discounted insurance rates that groups enjoy.
The cost of buying health insurance, experts say, is increasingly rattling start-ups that never anticipated the escalating price tag, and in some cases the expense keeps would-be entrepreneurs on the sidelines, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions.
“If Bill Gates had to worry about health insurance would he have started Microsoft? Who knows,” said Katherine Swartz, an economist at the Harvard School of Public Health and the author of “Reinsuring Health: Why More Middle-Class People Are Uninsured and What Government Can Do.”
“I worry about whether these small businesses will be able to survive, and I worry about what the U.S. economy is going to produce, the types of products and services small businesses will be able to produce in the next decade or so,” Ms. Swartz said.
Once upon a time, Ms. Smith and Mr. Lueders had generous benefits from their employers and gave little thought to how medical care would be paid. But today, as owners of a consulting firm in Liberty, Mo., and a transmission franchise in North Kansas City, it is a constant struggle.
“When we worked for someone else, life was good,” she said. “We had plenty of money and health care. Now we live with the constant fear of something. You never know, you just hold your breath. We will probably have one of us go back and get a full-time job at some point.”
Then there are the skeptics:
Not everyone thinks the trend is keeping people from taking the entrepreneurial plunge. “I’m not buying that it is a true barrier. It’s a hurdle not a wall,” says Bill Coleman, senior vice president for compensation at Salary.com, the compensation and benefits data site. If the higher price of health insurance keeps you out of the self-employed game, he said, then you might not be cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Go Cheney yourself, you glib piece of turd. Not being able to afford health care is a totally retarded reason not to bring wonderful new ideas or services to the marketplace. Very lame.
Like I was getting at yesterday (and I think even David Brooks would agree, based on today’s column), if you give Americans the tools to succeed, they’ll do quite nicely. Policy above principle!