The Affordable Care Act is bad for Millenials (and my latest radio show reflection)

Whitehouse.gov
Whitehouse.gov

This past Friday I made my fourth appearance on local radio host Shannon Joy’s conservative talk show (Weekdays 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM 92.1 FM or 1040 AM if you’re in the Rochester, NY area).

The Full Podcast of the 10/25 show is available here at WYSL1040.com (direct link to the podcast)

SIDE NOTE: As it turns out, Podcasts of her show are only available up to a week after they air. So this Podcast will only be available until November 1st and all of my other show reflections are unavailable until I work out a way to host them myself.

The latter half of this appearance focused on one of my favorite subjects: NSA Surveillance! But I’ve already written about that quite a bit here and here. Maybe I’ll do another post on why our over-legislated society facilitates the abuse of the surveillance state. The point of this whole argument is that the system of domestic spying has been abused before, it will be abused again, and this time it could cost us the republic. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t happen here. Oh, and this is what Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act does.

The first half of the show covered one of my least favorite topics: The Affordable Care Act. More specifically, how Obamacare impacts millennials. Obamacare is one of my least favorite topics because the law is so stupendously bad that I have trouble synthesizing all of its terribleness into a blog post that isn’t too cumbersome to read (or write). But going on Shannon’s show to talk about the ACA gave me the kick in the pants I needed to tackle it.

Young people love Obama Care!

A recent Gallup poll showed that 51% of respondents ages 18-29 approve of the ACA, while only 44% disapprove. The 18-29 cohort was the only age group surveyed that had a greater approval than disapproval rating. Feel free to read all of Gallup’s results and conclusions here. That being said, there is still a 44% disapproval rate for the ACA among the 18-29 age group.

Why on Earth do young people like it?

Overall, President Obama’s approval rating among 18-29 year olds has remained higher than other age groups, so that might explain part of the polling data. Younger people also tend to be more liberal and more Democratic. However, ACA approval may not just be partisan: many young adults have given the ACA credit for lowering rates of uninsured among the 18-29 year demographic.  Part of the reason may be that people can now stay on their parents plan up to age 26.

“Expanded” insurance coverage does not help everyone:

If you’re a millennial and your parents or your parent’s employer pay for your continued health coverage, then Obamacare seems fantastic.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Some people don’t have parents with health insurance plans to cover their children. Sometimes parents expect their adult children to pay for the cost of insurance themselves. Or you could be in one of the millions of families who are losing their insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. Remember, ‘If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it?’ Well that turned out to be a lie. The Obama administration knew when passing the law that 40%-67% of plans could terminate.

Either way, young adults now have to shell out several hundred more dollars per year on health insurance on top of student loans and navigating financial responsibility for the first time in their lives. Normally, the “young invincibles” would opt out of buying insurance all together because they figure they’ll pay far more in premium than they would for any out of pocket medical expenses they would face. Premiums are expensive and forgoing insurance seems like a wise economic choice. (Whether it is or not is none of the government’s business.) However, you no longer have that economic choice. The state has made it for you.

Behold! The Individual Mandate!

Now, every American MUST purchase insurance or pay a “tax.” Either you’re forced to give your money to an insurance company (hey there crony capitalism!) or give your money to the government. Whichever way you cut it, the government has just stolen another bit of your property “for your own good.”

Sure, forcing poor people to buy something, even if it were good for them does not necessarily make them better off nor does it solve the root problem. Here’s a great argument for why an individual mandate would have terrible consequences. (Spoiler! It’s Barack Obama!)

The individual mandate is in the ACA for the sole purpose of forcing young healthy people to buy insurance. Without it, the system would collapse in a premium “death spiral.”  Young people need to pay higher premiums that subsidize the care of older and sicker Americans.  According to Time, 2.7 million people between the ages of 18-35 will have to sign up for the exchanges for them to be solvent.  Just like out national debt, it’s another generational wealth transfer.

Who cares? Health insurance is good for you!

Here’s a great propaganda video from Healthcare.gov as to why that is. It isn’t completely wrong; insurance has its benefits. Especially covering people for catastrophic, expensive events. However, our insurance based healthcare system is not without its adverse side effects.

Without going into it too deeply, insurance masks the cost of medical care which eliminates free market checks on rising medical prices. Patients have a co-pay or a deductible that doesn’t cover the full cost of procedures and there is little negotiation for service. The American Medical Association fixes the prices of medical procedures and insurance companies pass along the increased costs of these procedures to consumers in the form of higher premiums. The higher costs are dispersed, so they’re hard to notice.

Sure, you could get a catastrophic plan if you’re under 30, but even so, health insurance premiums are going up because of increased coverage requirements even for basic plans.

Under the ACA, the government forces insurance plans to cover more medical procedures and sometimes provides lower out of pocket expenses if something goes wrong. But you will pay for it in higher premiums. With the exception of only five states, buying health insurance coverage on the individual market will go up under this law. (New York is one of the states where premiums go down, but we still have one of the highest rates in the nation.) The high cost of the government forcing us to buy insurance will be hard to swallow.

What about the increased Medicaid coverage?

The ACA talking point in response to this has been “nearly  5 in 10 young people will qualify for insurance as little as $50 per month.”

Like bragging about the number of people covered by food stamps, this is a pyrrhic victory for progressives.

One interesting article on the millennial driven news site, PolicyMic, bragged “In states that are expanding Medicaid coverage under the ACA, 84% of uninsured young adults could pay less than $100 a month for health insurance premiums.” Translation: 84% of young adults are suffering so much in this economy that most make less than $15,000 a year (the new Medicaid eligibility threshold); luckily the government is there to rescue them. Source$7.1 million Millenials are living near the poverty line. They may be eligible for coverage, but that figure is indicative of far greater systematic problems with the welfare state. The Affordable Care Act only aggravates these issues.

Speaking of disastrous consequences:

Although the Obama administration has chosen to exempt many businesses with over 50 from covering all of their full time workers, this draconian law has still impacted the ability of young people to find full time work. The Healthcare law incentivizes employers to hire only part time workers that they do not have to provide health coverage for. Driving up the costs of hiring full time employees makes employers hesitant to take on new staff, especially unproven recent college grads with little experience. I know it’s cliché, but Obamacare is a job killer and it will hurt millenials the most.

Conclusion:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the worst of the excesses of our profit based insurance system and government controlled healthcare. Obamacare is crony capitalism at its finest. Young people are forced at the point of a gun to give their money to healthcare insurance companies whether they want to or not. Millenials will pay more into this system than they would under normal market conditions to subsidize the care of older, less healthy Americans. It also hurts are job prospects as employers are incentivized to take on part-time workers while at the same time entrenching an outdated employer based health system.

Based on my conclusion, I know a number of people who will suggest that a single payer solution will solve all of these problems. It won’t, but I’ll get to that later. I’ll also write something some other time on a libertarian alternative to this mess. But this post has gone on long enough. I look forward to everyone’s well informed discussion.

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