As the United States buckle up for a change in administration and leadership, several economic changes are taking place, with repealing Obamacare being among the major ones. Before the Trump Administration came into power, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helped millions of people, both employees and self-employed, to get health insurance at affordable rates. However, those who have been insured under Obamacare are now struggling to keep up with skyrocketing premiums, especially after the news of repealing the ACA broke out. The increasing costs have inflicted a fatal blow on small business owners and their employees.
What the Statistics are Indicating
The insurance landscape has experienced a drastic shift in 2016, especially for the self-employed, as over 28 percent Obamacare consumers are entrepreneurs and small business owners. If the ACA is to be repealed without any replacement plan, the self-employed group or those in the gig economy are likely to be quite upset.
According to the predictions by the CBO, it is estimated that around 11 million more people will likely receive health insurance through their employer rather than purchasing it from the individual market. This means that in a time with repealed Obamacare where a dynamic gig economy is driven by self-employed individuals, people will be discouraged from setting out on their own path, and have no option but to stay tethered to their full-time jobs.
A new report released by the Department of Health and Human and the U.S. Treasury Department showed that every 1 in 5 people who bought insurance via an ACA exchange in 2014 was a self-employed individual, small business owner, or both. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation performed in early 2016 revealed that 31 percent of the enrollees of non-group health insurance were self-employed, portraying that Obamacare is providing aid to that segment as well.
What Options do the Self-Employed Have
While the repealing of Obamacare seems imminent, three basic frameworks are available for health care:
- We can go back to doing things the way they were done before Obamacare, but this option is not practically possible.
- We can go for single-payer, but with the change of government, it is not politically palatable.
- We design and implement some similar version of Obamacare in the form of a private insurance-based hybrid system. This may seem doable, but it doesn’t leave much room for ACA opponents to wriggle, as only one option enables self-employed and business owners to keep utilizing their hard-won coverage and all the benefits they are currently getting through Obamacare.
The ideal scenario would be that instead of repealing the law, improvements are made to the ACA in order to make it easier for self-employed, small business owners and their workers to obtain medical coverage necessary for their growth and success.