The debate in Washington over repealing the Affordable Care Act has me nervous. I own PelotonLabs, LLC, a coworking space in Portland that serves over 80 entrepreneurs and remote workers. Over the past six years, I’ve seen with my own eyes that the availability of affordable health care directly affects people’s willingness to start new businesses.

Before the ACA, decent health care was too expensive to leave a job and start a business. I personally was keeping an eye on the upcoming passage of the ACA as a key moment to leave my job and commit to my business full time, and over the past three years I’ve met dozens and dozens of other people who were willing to risk starting a new business or go freelance and go with a lowered income for a few years because of the ACA income-tiered system.

Even if you don’t believe – as I do – that health care for every human should be a goal, just like sanitation and education, you should know that affordable health care provides part of the safety net that allows people to take risks that improve the economy and life for all of us.

I urge Sen. Susan Collins to commit to a high standard of affordable health care for everyone, and not to vote to repeal the ACA until a solution that covers more people, in a more comprehensive way, is created. The plan on the table right now would be devastating to small-business owners and entrepreneurs like myself.

Liz Trice

Portland