Thursday, March 23, 2006

Entrepreneuring Health Care

An idea just popped into my head--not really in keeping with the Asia-focus that I try to keep, but it's definately wonky, so I'm putting it up.  If you have thoughts on this, please let me know.


1.  One of the main reasons the United States has been so successful over the last 80 years is that government has worked hard to nurture an environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.  It has allowed people to develop knowledge and expertise through schooling, work, and experience of the market.  Then translate those assets into business structures that exploit new market segments, market niches, and help bring new products to market.


2.  Health care costs in the United States are currently extremely high--either from the point of view of individuals who see premiums taking larger and larger shares of their paychecks, or from the pov of employers who, if they can even afford it, are facing diminished profit-margins and greater potential for their businesses to fail.


3.  Entrepreneurs tend to be young people with less to risk than more established people (i.e. it's easier to go out on your own when you don't have a family or an established career).  However, young people tend not to have access to the capital (in the form of savings, or credibility with a bank) to secure the resources needed to start a business.


4.  Because of the rising costs of health care, even if someone is able to start a business, it is unlikely that he/she will be able to offer health care to his/her employees because the costs are too high, and too unstable to allow for safe budgeting of those expenses


5.  A major reason people fear losing their jobs or having to change jobs is the loss of health insurance--especially if they have a family (it's relatively easy for young, healthy me to live without health insurance for 8 months.  It's much harder for young healthy me to think it's OK for my 2 year old--hypothetical of course--to spend 8 months without health insurance).


6. Because of this, I venture to guess that establishing some form of government health care system--or private if someone can figure out a way to make money on it--that offers decent or better coverage, reasonable prices, and predictable changes/rates of change in premiums, there would be an entrepreneurial boom in the economy, stimulating it in the neo-con sense in a way to compensate for a substantial portion of the incurred tax revenue.  Though there would probably be a 3-4 year lag before seeing the effects come full circle.


I don’t think people are looking for handouts, they’re just trying to make sure that if they try something new they wont send their family into a deep abyss.

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