Protesters outside the US Supreme Court during oral arguments over the constitutionality of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Photo: Paul Smith)
Last year, I wrote a piece entitled How the U.S. Health Insurance Boondoggle Stifles Innovation, about how America’s demonstrably inefficient health care system, coupled with the dependence of most independent workers and entrepreneurs on a spouse for health insurance, threatens America’s competitiveness.
Tech startup founders who have it all—a great idea, a pile of cash, and enthusiasm to burn—are still missing one thing. The ability to provide basic health insurance to themselves and their dependents. It’s a powerful disincentive to creating jobs in an economy that desperately needs them, and forces innovators who would otherwise strike out on their own to continue sharecropping for someone else.
Today the Supreme Court upheld the Congress’s attempt to address this issue by creating, among other things, a mechanism that allows individuals to buy health insurance for themselves and their families at something other than the extortionate rates they’re subject to now.
As Andy Baio, former CTO of Kickstarter, and founder of Upcoming.org put it, “Today’s ruling is life-changing news for indie artists and makers — especially those with families. (Like me.)”
It’s not the first time the US Government has recognized the need to create a mandatory health insurance program, but what’s significant is that this decision allows for a little more long-term planning and risk-taking on the part of the very people who will continue to create jobs in the IT sector, one of the few that continues to grow.