“Universal healthcare would increase the entrepreneurial spirit in the United States.”
I normally don’t agree with Nancy Pelosi, but when she said the above statement I totally agreed with her.
Let’s put aside for a minute the fact that medical care should be a basic human right and available to everyone in a wealthy nation like the United States. On a pure economic and job creation level, universal healthcare would be a huge asset.
The best way I can explain why I believe this is to give a true life example. Bill is a good friend of mine. A real brilliant guy. The type of guy that you say to yourself once you get to know him “That guy has something special. He’s going somewhere.” For about ten years Bill worked at a large consulting firm and his career blossomed. But as he moved up the corporate ladder he began to get bored with his job. After some soul searching he decided to quit his job and start a new company. It was always his dream to build something from the ground up.
Today, just five years after launch, his company is a raging success. Each year sales are double or triple the previous year’s. At this moment his company has about 500 employees. Five hundred good paying, career orientated jobs added to the local community because Bill was not afraid to take a chance, work hard and follow his vision.
Six months ago Bill was diagnosed with a chronic health condition. If treated properly it is not life threatening, but the treatments are very expensive. Luckily he has health insurance, so with a weekly doctor visit he is able to continue living his life and building his company.
I asked Bill the other day if he would have taken the leap from the corporate world to become an entrepreneur now, knowing his current health condition. He didn’t answer right away but thought about it for a few minutes, in typical Bill style. Finally, he just said “No.” When I asked him why he said that he would not have left his job with a chronic condition without another job waiting for him with good health insurance. He would never be able to get a private policy with his pre-existing condition. Bill said it would have been way too much of a risk, a risk that would have put his health and the well being of his family at jeopardy. Sure, he could have used COBRA to extend his policy from his former employer, but COBRA only lasts eighteen months and for a person with a chronic condition that is not good enough of a safety net.
The more you read about this subject the more stories you hear about people who have pre-existing conditions staying with a safe job rather than making the entrepreneurial leap. I can not blame these people at all. But if we have universal health care that does not allow insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing conditions medical coverage then these entrepreneurs would be willing to strike out on their own and create something great like Bill did.
If Bill was diagnosed with his condition five years earlier then he would never have started his company, a company that has created 500 jobs and contributed millions of dollars in federal and state taxes. If for no other reason, we need universal health insurance coverage to help keep America’s entrepreneurial spirit alive.