Entrepreneurs explain how Obamacare let them found businesses and create jobs

Obamacare has some significant structural problems, all stemming from the way it gives the whip-hand to insurance companies, who get to demand ever-larger sums from both the government and Obamacare users; nevertheless, the ability to get insurance makes an enormous difference for people contemplating starting innovative businesses and stepping away from big, lumbering corporations that are big enough to extend coverage to their employees.

My own family's move to the USA from the UK was only possible thanks to Obamacare; I have pre-existing medical conditions that made me uninsurable as a freelance writer, small business owner and novelist, and any move to the USA without some way to get healthcare would have put my whole family's finances — from our home to our retirement to our daughter's college savings — at risk (I'm pinning my hopes on California making good on its promise to lead the resistance to Trumpism, including the extension of a state healthcare plan that could even include single-payer healthcare or a public option).

In a compelling piece, CNN Money speaks to a diverse collection of small business owners who were able to start new firms only because of Obamacare, because of pre-existing conditions (like surviving cancer), or the need to keep their children insured, or because their loved ones have chronic health problems like profound autism.

Donald Trump's election may mean the end of the computer repair shop Jefferson Roberts opened eight years ago in Smyrna, Tennessee.

Roberts is diabetic and can't risk being uninsured. A month of insulin costs $1,100.

Knowing Obama planned to reform health care, he left his job. Rejected by insurers on the individual market, he was "lucky" to get into his state's high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions. When the exchange opened in 2014, he signed up for "even better insurance at a much more reasonable price, with subsidies. Finally, I was able to rest easy, knowing that I had good coverage."

Now, he depends on his Obamacare insurance to keep him alive.

Trump's vow to repeal the health reform law has left Roberts caught between a rock and a hard place. He doesn't want to close the shop — to which he devotes 72 hours a week — and look for a job with benefits. But he says he can't take the chance that Trump's plans could leave him without coverage.

"When President Obama was elected, I finally saw that I might have the chance to run my own business," said Roberts, 50, who worked in corporate IT for years. "I'd have to run away to save myself. I'm healthy and I'd like to stay healthy."

Entrepreneurs to Trump: Don't take away our Obamacare
[Tami Luhby/CNN Money]