The Obama administration has been doing a pretty poor job hiding their desperation when it comes to convincing the young people that they need to subsidize the entire system that they should sign up for insurance through ObamaCare — because without getting them to pay more money into the system than they’ll actually need to use, that whole “affordable” thing is going to fall apart pretty quickly.
The White House and ObamaCare’s supporters are mounting a full-scale campaign to tout the law’s supposed benefits and convince Americans to sign up en masse, and according to a new poll from the Kaiser Foundation, they definitely have reason to worry. The Kaiser Foundation suggests that their finding that about three-quarters of young adults personally value and feel that they need insurance means that all of the fears of ObamaCare self-imploding are overblown, but upon closer inspection:
As Timothy Carney pointed out at the Washington Examiner, about a quarter of young people feeling that they don’t really need health insurance and that it isn’t really worth it is kind of a huge minority, and as Via Meadia explains, the devil is in the details:
Total numbers that include both insured and uninsured aren’t nearly as useful as breakdowns that separate these two groups. And these numbers are much less encouraging. True, 76 percent of all insured ages 18-64 say that “insurance is something I need.” But 40 percent don’t think health care is worth its price, and that number should be extremely troubling to ACA advocates. Since many of the currently insured will keep their current employer-based plan, the fate of the exchanges really hangs on the decisions of the uninsured. Unless a high percentage of currently uninsured youth opt in, Obamacare will face severe, possibly fatal, problems.
How many of those young adults will opt in is still very much an unknown, but with such a large portion unemployed and underemployed, it’s definitely going to be an uphill battle for Team ObamaCare — and as Holman Jenkins points out in the WSJ, when young people start to realize just how much more health insurance could start costing them, I’m wondering if people aren’t going to start opting out:
Media outlets lately have emphasized the challenge of enticing healthy young adults to sign up for ObamaCare, “exactly the type of person insurance plans, states and the federal government are counting on to make health reform work,” as the L.A. Times put it. These pieces are useful as far as they go, but miss a key point that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito managed to convey in many fewer words during last year’s Supreme Court argument on ObamaCare.
Mr. Alito pointed out that young, healthy adults today spend an average of $854 a year on health care. ObamaCare would require them to buy insurance policies expected to cost roughly $5,800. The law, then, isn’t just asking them to pay for “the services that they are going to consume,” he continued. “The mandate is forcing these people to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies . . . to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.”
Since he puts it that way, why would they sign up for ObamaCare, especially since the alleged penalties will be negligible and likely unenforced?