Geoff's Blog: Talking with my US Representative about the Affordable Care Act

Every Wednesday Geoff publishes "The Pull", a digest of the top news for the Iowa innovation community that week. The following is the introduction to Issue #183.

I did something yesterday that I've never done before. I stopped in to my Congressman's office to talk to him about an issue that concerns me (I live in Iowa's 3rd District and I'm represented by David Young). The issue is the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare), the current efforts to repeal and replace it, and how I think that will impact entrepreneurs and small business owners in Iowa. 

I have a personal interest in this (both my wife and I own small businesses in Iowa) and more broadly I'm concerned about how it will effect the innovation community in our state, especially those of us at the early stage of building our businesses. While I did not get the opportunity to talk to the Congressman himself (he wasn't in the office at the time), I did speak with his staff—who were very nice and accommodating—about a few of the issues that I believe are connected to ACA repeal. For example, I noted the HHS report out this week that stated that 1 in 5 people who get coverage through the marketplace are either entrepreneurs or self-employed and that the idea of "job lock" (fearing of leaving a job at an established business because coverage options were limited without an employer-sponsored group plan) was a real detriment to people going out on their own and starting a business prior to the ACA.

Further, I spoke with them about the great work that so many people have been doing over the last several years to encourage and support entrepreneurs in Iowa. I shared my sincere belief that if the ACA were to be repealed without a clear plan for replacement that includes the provisions that are important to people creating businesses then it would be a major set back to our entrepreneurial community.

While the Congressman's staff wasn't able to directly respond to any of my specific concerns they did hear me out and promised to share my thoughts with him. Additionally, they noted that the Congressman is big proponent of small business and would be sure to be interested in what I had said.

Obviously, I have no idea if my visit will make an impact one way or the other. However, it felt really good to have raised the issue at that level. If you have similar concerns, about this or another policy issue, I'd encourage you to visit your representatives' offices, as well.