Does ObamaCare really depend on the young?

Health Law’s Success Rests on the Young” is the headline on a front page Wall Street Journal article today. The Journal’s Op/Ed pages have been hopelessly reactionary for decades, but it’s only recently that the news section has started to become polluted with bias.

The article makes it seem as though ObamaCare’s survival depends on 20-something’s signing up for health insurance to pay for all the old, sick people out there. The article also points to Portland, OR to demonstrate that subsidies for those with low incomes will be lower than expected and thus will discourage people from signing up. The implication is that young adults won’t sign up for health insurance because it will be cheaper to pay the penalty for violating the mandate than to buy insurance.

The article includes a balanced view if you look carefully, but t de-emphasizes a number of important points:

  • Penalties may be low at first, but they go up by a factor of 4x over the first three years starting in 2014. So even if it seems worthwhile to pay the penalty at first, that calculus will change over time
  • The reason subsidies are lower than expected is because some insurance companies are being more aggressive than expected in offering low-priced plans. Those low prices are available to all –whether they are eligible for subsidies or not– and I expect people to choose those inexpensive plans. Contrary to what critics expected/hoped for, prices on the exchanges will be aggressively low
  • The exchanges are only one of the ACA’s mechanisms for offering health insurance to young adults. Everyone can stay on their parents’ plan till age 26, small employers will receive subsidies for coverage, and Medicaid eligibility will be expanded. It’s a real stretch to assert that those who aren’t covered by any of these mechanisms are the key to the law’s success

2 thoughts on “Does ObamaCare really depend on the young?”

  1. WSJ is pretty reputable, but I smell a plant of a story here. As in, the strategy of the GOP is to dissuade young people from enrolling. First, once many young realize the Bronze or Catotrophic plan are virtually, if not totally, premium free, there is no reason not to enroll. Second, who floated the idea that the without the young the market will crash.

    People will be buying health insurance from private “for profit” and “nonprofit” insurance companies that must purchase reinsurance to guard against excessive claims from new members with pre-existing conditions.

    If the health insurance companies such as Blue Shield, Blue Cross, Kaiser, Health Net, etc. (companies that are far smarter than any politician or bureaucracy) thought participating in the exchange would sink their ship, they wouldn’t participate and they would be warning people. That isn’t happening.

    1. um, wow. GOP strategy to dissuade young from enrolling. Has anyone else seen this or is it only visible to you?

      In states that have released rates bronze and even catastrophic rates are higher then current cost after the subsidy.

      “the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange in Southern Nevada would be a catastrophic plan with a monthly premium of $148.”

      “catastrophic plans in Southern Nevada beginning as low as $29 a month.”

      Anyone young people making more than 133% of poverty level will be paying more now, after the subsidy then they do now. So, contrary to what you claim it appears Obama wrote the law to drive young people off insurance.

      In regards to your question;

      “who floated the idea that the without the young the market will crash.”

      “President Barack Obama, hoping to pitch his signature health care law to younger Americans, will get some help from a cadre of Hollywood stars who have volunteered to help promote Obamacare’s insurance exchanges that open on October 1.”

      “Administration officials said they’re hoping to enroll roughly 7 million people next year in insurance exchanges across the country. They want young, healthy people to make up about 2.6 million to 2.7 million of that total.”

      Read more:
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      Any finally maybe you missed the long list of Carriers that are not participating in Exchanges?

      California’s largest health insurer for small companies, Anthem Blue Cross, said it will not participate in the state’s Covered California exchange.

      Read more:

      I keep looking for a sarcasm tag that you were joking with your comment, you were trying to be funny right?

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