As the country’s politicians wrangle over a variety of policy priorities, I thought it would be useful to remind our community about a subtle but significant boost entrepreneurs received when the Affordable Care Act was enacted.

Whatever you call it (Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Trumpcare next?), the private market access to healthcare ended a condition dubbed by economists as job lock. Job lock refers to individuals who may not have pursued an entrepreneurial endeavor because of health related (pre-existing) conditions. These conditions would have prevented them from securing health insurance elsewhere. These individuals were essentially captive employees. A former colleague of mine explained it well in this NPR Story.

Years from now, when economists perform a cost/benefit analysis of these healthcare programs, I hope they factor in the impact of entrepreneurship to the economy. As noted in the story linked above, upwards of 25,000 new ventures per year are started because entrepreneurs can now acquire health insurance in an exchange, not just via their employer. By any measure, that is healthy for an economy in need of more jobs and wealth creation.

If access to healthcare enabled you to pursue your entrepreneurial dream, I’d love to hear your story. Email me at

March 16, 2017
Written by NC IDEA President & CEO, Thom Ruhe