Hooray for Health Care Reform--writing as an Entrepreneur and a Mom
As someone who has worked with MomsRising.org for years to accomplish the goal of securing healthcare for all American kids, I am cheering the news that we have taken a step closer toward achieving health care for all. I could write as a Mom and share plenty of emotional stories, such as going to the playground when my family visited France, and being moved to tears by realizing how amazing it felt to know that all the kids playing there had health care.
But in addition to being a motherhood writer, I am a publisher and entrepreneur. That influences my view on health care just as much as being a Mom does, and it gives me even more reason to cheer today. In this era of extreme unemployment and financial crisis, people are wondering where the jobs of the future are going to come from. In most cases, the new opportunities are not going to look like the jobs of the past, spending 40 hours a week working in a factory, or spending 20 years with one employer.
My writing and publishing business is a case in point. Right now with the production of the new book Courageous Parents, Confident Kids, I have been generating lot of work for freelancers, good work that pays skilled professionals $20, $50, $75 an hour. I might pay a freelancer $3000 in one month when we are rolling full steam ahead to publish a new book. But my team operates like a highly dynamic flash mob. We come together for intense projects, work really hard, and then when the book is done, go our own ways until it is time to make the next book.
These freelancers are welcome to work for anyone else they like, but they don't have one employer to rely on to provide health care under our current employer-based model, which came about largely an accident of history dates back to World War II, when big employers like car manufacturers folded in lots of benefits work around salary caps.
This does not resemble my work world at all, which is nimble, entrepreneurial, and decentralized. I work with cover designers in Wisconsin, an editor and book designer in Minnesota, an illustrator in Florida, and an American web designer who lives in Mexico. I have worked with some of these talented collaborators on multiple, major projects without ever meeting some of them in person--though I would love to one day!
This type of entrepreneurial, freelance job creation ties directly into the need for health care reform, because freelancers are generally in the pool of the 9% of Americans who have been really getting a terrible deal shopping for health insurance on the open market, which has been so abusive to consumers (for a good discussion of this issue, listen to the March 19th Diane Rehm Show). I've felt terrible that the people who have done such great work for me did not necessarily have great health insurance, or any at all. Now thanks to the hard work of all who pushed for health care reform, some immediate changes will help freelancers, such as immediate access to insurance for people who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition, who can now get coverage through a temporary high-risk pool.
Frankly, if we were starting from scratch I don't think we would have come up with the crazy, complicated and bureaucratic health delivery system we have now, but being grounded in the divisive political realities we face, I am very grateful for this step in the right direction of health insurance reform.
MomsRising co-founder Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner contributed a chapter to Amy Tiemann's new book, "Courageous Parents, Confident Kids." We would love to give you a free digital download of the book when it's released on April 19th (no special e-book reader needed). For more information and to sign up, visit www.MojoMom.com