Growing up can certainly be a tough proposition, even without the government forcing young adults to buy comprehensive health insurance that they’ll never use. Paying thousands in premiums while having deductibles that all but guarantee they won’t see any benefits at all from those plans is just part of the maturation process, Barack Obama explained to Charles Barkley in an interview for the cable channel TNT. After all, we older folk have lots of aches and pains — and you can’t expect us to cover the cost of our own risk, can you?
“Folks our age, I mean I wouldn’t call us old yet –” Obama started.
“We’re knocking on the door.”
“We are knocking on the door. So once you are 50, you wake up sometimes — does this happen to you, Chuck? — you wake up and something hurts and you don’t know exactly what happened. Right?”
“Everything hurts when I wake up,” said Barkley.
“When you were young, you know, you had to actually have an injury before something hurts. We’d like to encourage more young people to sign up, partly because since they’re healthier, their premiums are actually generally going to be fairly cheap. They can find good options for less than their cable bill, less than their cell phone bill. And it’s just part of growing up — is making sure you’re taking care of your body, your health. If you have a young family, you have to make sure that your family’s protected with health insurance, as well. This allows you to do it,” said Obama.
That sounds good in theory. In practice, young and healthy adults are now being forced to pay hundreds of dollars a month for plans with thousands of dollars in deductibles. Even if they get subsidies from the federal government on the premiums, they still have to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket before seeing the first dollar of benefits (and other taxpayers are making up the rest anyway). The smarter option — and until ObamaCare, the available option — is to buy catastrophic insurance and put pre-tax earnings into HSAs to deal with routine care. Of course, that would mean that mandated coverage for all of those achy 50-year-olds — myself among them — would have premiums that reflected their actual risk to the pool, but that would make them angry and no longer Democratic voters.
Speaking of which, Democrats seem to have figured out that they can’t run away from ObamaCare in the midterms. Their new strategy is to run a scare campaign that says anything Republicans do will only make their own screw-up worse:
The battle plan, details of which were in a memo obtained by POLITICO, recognizes the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act. But it also banks on voter fatigue with the GOP’s relentless demands for repeal and counts on poll-backed data that show many Americans would rather fix Obamacare’s problems than scrap it altogether.
Republicans scoff at the notion that voters will forgive Democrats for the health care law and its botched roll-out, arguing that the reality now is too clear for Democrats to muddy it with promises about the future.
But as conservative groups pump tens of millions of dollars into anti-Obamacare ads, Democrats are reacting in their own ads and on the stump with the same talking points: that the GOP has wasted too much time on repeal votes, that it’s time to move on to solving the law’s problems, and that Republicans want to return to the days where insurance companies took advantage of customers. Some Democrats also are resurrecting the claim that Republicans will gut Medicare.
“The best way to push back on the attacks we know Republicans will launch over health care is to be on offense about what your opponent would do to health care while highlighting your commitment to fixing and improving the law,” Jesse Ferguson, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s deputy executive director, wrote in the memo.
The five-page document, dated Jan. 30, was sent to House candidates and included 17 poll-tested lines of attack against Republicans who have voted to repeal the law, complete with research citations.
The biggest problem with this strategy is that Democrats — starting with Obama himself — keep making the situation worse by pretending it’s not as bad as it really is. ObamaCare has become so arbitrary that Moody’s is mulling another downgrade to the health sector over the last unilateral enforcement changes made by the White House. Good luck selling Democrats with the “we don’t stink as much as Republicans” after watching the sheer incompetence of HHS and the White House over these last several months of the rollout.