Is healthcare the greatest limiter on startups?

@shanselman has been sharing a lot of tweets today on the topic of healthcare and startups. For example:

* https://twitter.com/lobrien/status/247408555651645440
* https://twitter.com/doozerblake/status/247407834130690048
* https://twitter.com/shanselman/status/247403381012975616
* https://twitter.com/timsonofsteve/status/247413105750077440

The shared assertion is — the lack of easily available health insurance is preventing a lot of people from joining or creating startups. Nothing scientific about this data, it is all anecdotal, but I certainly empathize with the view. Health insurance has certainly been a factor in my personal career decisions over the last decade. I know a half dozen people who have wrestled with the issue as they have considered startup opportunities. My sense is that people are willing to take a lot of salary and equity risk, but they can’t put their family’s healthcare at risk, particularly if they are starting young families.

The current US system is certainly biased towards employment with large established employers. I wonder if the upcoming legislated changes will help to create more movement to small businesses and startups. I wonder if we couldn’t do even more to a) make movement to startups easy, and b) provide coverage in the event of startup failure, so that personal risk is minimized.

There is a lot of wailing and teeth gnashing about our patent system and how that is an impediment to entrepreneurs, but I can’t help but wonder if access to healthcare and health insurance is an even greater impediment.

Update: Marcello wrote a “very reasoned piece”:http://www.geekwire.com/2012/healthcare-reform-todays-ruling-great-news-startups/ on this topic in June, worth a look.