Excellent article in the Washington Monthly about the liberating potential of accessible, affordable, universal health insurance. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and creative people like artists and musicians often have to take their chances because health insurance is unaffordable or unobtainable.
There are many people who are willing to sacrifice, live on little and invest in a dream, but one accident or health emergency can ruin everything they’ve worked for. Others resign themselves to staying in a job for the health insurance benefits.
Universal health insurance, far from suppressing entrepreneurship, could be a boon to it.
The main reason for this is a phenomenon known as “job lock,” a term coined during the last round of debate over universal health coverage in the early 1990s. Job lock refers to the fact that workers are often unwilling to leave a current job that provides health insurance for another position that might not, even if they would be more productive in that other position. This is because employer-provided insurance is traditionally the only reliable form of fairly priced private insurance coverage available in the U.S. The alternative is to purchase insurance in the nongroup market, where insurance prices and availability are typically not regulated, so insurance companies can drop individuals when they become ill or charge them exorbitant prices. As a result, individuals feel “locked” into less productive jobs.
We have a generation of college students who already have loans to pay off. Let’s insure everyone so that they can make the best choices to reach their potential.