I’ve been waiting for someone with authority to come out and say this. Now Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has, and a New York Magazine reporter expands on the theme: universal healthcare in America is a problem for capitalists (represented by the GOP), because it both frees workers from staying at a job just for the health benefits and it knocks down a barrier to entrepreneurship. Capitalism always need an underclass to exploit but quality universal healthcare will make it harder to exploit workers. The worker that can easily leave a job for better conditions, opportunity or pay is a worker who has negotiating strength and may even have enough money to compete with his boss.
Kalanick told reporters that Obamacare had been a crucial element in his firm’s success. “It’s huge,” he said, according to BuzzFeed. “The democratization of those types of benefits allow people to have more flexible ways to make a living. They don’t have to be working for The Man.”
The destructive power of this blunt statement works in two ways. The first, of course, is that it rebuts the Republican indictment of Obamacare, opposition to which is a matter of holy writ within the party. Of all the grounds for Republican hatred of Obamacare, the most deeply held is the belief that it amounts to onerous regulation that holds back capitalistic dynamism. That belief is not only foundational on the right, but nebulous enough that, even as conservative predictions about Obamacare’s cost and functionality obviously fail, the deeper suspicion that it is invisibly rotting away the foundations of capitalism can linger without any real evidence.
Robert Wood Johnson shares facts and data that support this premise:
Traditionally, individuals considering leaving their job to strike out on their own have worried that they may be denied health insurance coverage because they have preexisting conditions, fear losing access to a trusted physician, or are unable to afford the premiums without an employer sharing the costs. This brief examines how provisions in the ACA will impact entrepreneurialism:
The number of self-employed Americans will be 1.5 million higher in 2014 because of the Affordable Care Act.
Access to high-quality, subsidized health insurance coverage will no longer be exclusively tied to employment, which could lead people to pursue their own businesses as self-employed entrepreneurs.
Evidence strongly suggests that the number of self-employed individuals in the United States will increase with full-implementation of the ACA.