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Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013

Understanding Obamacare: The Freedom to Start Your Own Business

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Question: How does Obamacare give me more freedom to control my life?

Answer: The new options provided by the Affordable Care Act will help Americans find reasonably priced insurance on their own, without having to rely on their employer’s plan. This will help many would-be entrepreneurs, freelancers and potential small business owners take the leap into self-employment.

For many Americans, the majority of their weekday is spent at work. And we all know people—perhaps even yourself—who stay at jobs they don’t like because they need the health care. Unfortunately, the American health care system links coverage to employment, and leaving a safe job with good benefits and looking for individual coverage can be downright scary—and expensive. On average, employers contribute close to 80% of the cost of a single health insurance premium; without that contribution many would-be entrepreneurs are priced out. And when we remember that pre-existing conditions and other insurance discrimination existed up until Obamacare, it is no surprise that people feel “stuck.”

But many Americans do take that leap and leave their jobs and employer-sponsored coverage for new opportunities—taking time off, or writing a book or starting their own company. And now, thanks to Obamacare, many more can have the freedom to do so. Individuals can now access affordable coverage, with tax credits reducing the cost. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that 34,000 Wisconsinites will be able to be self-employed because of Obamacare.

You can now take that time off or start a new business without fear of losing your health insurance coverage. Allowing people stuck in bad jobs the freedom to become their own boss—thanks, Obamacare.

—Kevin Kane, Citizen Action of Wisconsin

The Shepherd Express and Citizen Action of Wisconsin will answer questions about the Affordable Care Act during its implementation. Got a question? Email editor@shepex.com.