What I mean by substandard is this. We’ve been hearing people complain that the Obamacare-approved policies cover too much, not too little. That’s part of the reason premiums are higher. But from my view, a higher monthly premium along with higher copays create a disincentive. Paying more to see a doctor means there’s less chance I’’ll use that service unless I’m absolutely desperate.
All of this isn’t simply idle hand-wringing. If young healthy people like myself feel we’re being taken advantage of, and opt out of purchasing insurance — paying the penalty instead — the healthcare exchanges will collapse. (The penalty in year one for opting out is only $95 or 1% of your salary, whichever is higher — far less than the cost of even the most basic insurance plan.)
When Obamacare comes fully online, it will do wonders to provide healthcare for people who were not eligible for Medicaid but still could not afford health insurance. If this system is going to be sustainable, however, we’re going to need to find a way to get older and wealthier Americans to chip in more. Because, right now, it’s young, middle-class people just outside the subsidy range who are biting the bullet. Young, middle-class people who already bore the highest toll in the recent financial collapse, who have seen our wages sliced and our job prospects dwindle.
You can only ride our backs for so long before we’re going to tell you enough is enough.