The Freelance Economy and the Potential Rollback of the ACA

I just read this article on the Star Tribune website about how the potential rollback of the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") could affect the "gig economy".  I invite you to read that article before reading the rest of this post.  The gist of the article, though, is that the gig economy - that part of the economy that involves freelancers and other workers that don't earn their income via traditional 9-to-5 employment - is now a much larger part of the economy now than it once was, and repealing the ACA could have a tremendous (negative) impact on those workers.

The effects will be felt not just on freelance workers like Lyft/Uber drivers, IT contractors, etc., but also on any artist or other creative professional, small business owners, etc.  Often, taking the risk to strike out on one's own is dependent on what healthcare costs will be for him/her and his/her family.  I know this has been a critical part of my calculation as I've considered leaving the corporate fold and striking out on my own in freelance capacities.  The discounts (insurance discounts via tax credits) that would be afforded me in the early year(s), as I likely make a far reduced income, are critical in those calculations as to whether I can realistically consider making such a move.  Being that I'm buying insurance for a family of five, affordability is a key factor when I look at a large initial income drop.  Seeing this huge uncertainty on the horizon, it has changed my calculus.  I don't see anything changing immediately for 2017, as the government machine can't turn quite that quick, but this could mean huge changes for 2018, and I'd hate to be staring down that barrel only a year into my new paradigm.

I've been lucky in that my employer, thankfully not wanting me to leave, has agreed to let me take a sabbatical of a few months this year instead, so I've withdrawn my resignation, won't be leaving the corporate fold quite yet after all.  Instead I'll simply be using this time away to accomplish some of the goals my planned exit from Corporate America was intended for anyway, and then I can see what happens after this first year into the new Presidency, reassess my long-term strategy.

 For those that don't have this option, though, or perhaps simply don't want it (they just really want to get out and be their own boss), I fret for how much harder this might make things for them.  My hope is that President-Elect Trump and the Republicans come to their senses and realize that taking away affordable healthcare options for millions of Americans is not a wise thing.  Indeed, even many of the people who voted and campaigned for him are now pleading that he please not take away their healthcare, so I have a slight bit of hope.  Not too much, though, as repeal was a campaign promise of his, and the rest of the party has been trying like hell to do so ever since it was originally passed.  I guess we'll see what happens...