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It's a Fact: Mass. Health Reform Helps Mass. Entrepreneurs

Posted by John McDonough  May 13, 2012 09:25 PM

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Catching up on some late reading, and something from the April 21 National Journal jumped out like a rocket and demands attention:

"The Other Jobs Bill: Mitt Romney lionizes entrepreneurship. His health care law -- and possibly the national version based on it -- helped more than he knew."

Margot Sanger-Katz starts her article by describing Laura Fitton who launched a social media marketing company in 2009. Laura didn't have a lot of money to pay employees, though she found herself able to lure out-of-state talent because of ... Massachusetts health reform. "I absolutely was able to get better people," says Fitton.

Here are extended excerpts from the article which deserves a lot more attention and discussion:

"Massachusetts, despite the confound effects of the recession, can now offer aspiring entrepreneurs the freedom to leave large companies and start small ones -- and give dissatisfied workers the freedom to change jobs, freelance, or scale back their hours without worrying about depriving their families of health coverage."

"Massachusetts has outperformed the national economy and now tops lists that rank economic health and opportunity. Despite some initial concern from the business community, companies have largely embraced the law as a benefit, not a burden."

"A state ranking conducted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on entrepreneurship, shows Massachusetts pulling away from the pack in measures considered to be predictors of economic performance, called the New Economy Index. The state has occupied the top spot since the list was created in 1999. But in recent years since the health care law's implementation, its lead has grown. Massachusetts tops measures like migration of highly educated workers and the number of fast-growing businesses. 'They've gotten better compared to the nation since they put in their health care law,' says ITIF President Robert Atkinson."

"Recent studies by economist Robert Fairlie have established surprising links between entrepreneurship and health insurance. One study compared the rate of new entrepreneurs in the nation with the subset of people whose spouses have employer-based health insurance. People in the latter category were more likely to start a new business. ... As with entrepreneurs, people who have access to a spouse?s insurance are more likely than those without to switch jobs or work part time."

"'I have lots of qualitative data,' says John Hawthorne, the CEO of Mass Challenge, an organization that funds start-ups. He says he thinks the law is making it easier for people to launch businesses and hire the talent they need to succeed."

"As long as Romney (or the Supreme Court) doesn't stop implementation of the federal health care law, the rest of the country is about to become a lot more like Massachusetts. The national reform will give American access to central exchanges for insurance, and it guarantees that even old or sick people can get insurance."

And they want to repeal the ACA ... why?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

John E. McDonough is a professor of practice at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is the author of the book “Inside National Health Reform”, published in 2011 by More »

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