Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Divisive health care law will create new generation gap

The Gazette editorial Published: September 17, 2013

Just as it seemed Obamacare couldn't look much worse, a new study explains how it will quickly create a chasm between young and old.

The study, by the National Center for Public Policy Research, shows how The Great Divider's health care overhaul will divide the old and young by depriving millions of young people the subsidies they were promised. In denuding younger Americans their subsidies, Obamacare will discourage them from buying insurance and undermine the economic viability of the program.

"Officially, the Obamacare exchanges are supposed to give a subsidy to everyone making 400 percent of the federal poverty level or below," said David Hogberg, a health care policy analyst and co-author of the study. "Yet we've found that for most people age 18-34, the subsidies disappear well before that 400 percent level."

The study examined the premium data for exchanges of 14 states and Washington, D.C. In 10 of the exchanges, subsidies disappear for 100 percent of individuals ages 18-34 before they earn just 300 percent of the federal poverty level. That's about $34,470 annually for a single person.

For that demographic, one can easily see how Obamacare does nothing more than mandate the purchase of health insurance that has always been available on the open market.

"This is critical information because it tells us that a population that is crucial to the proper functioning of the Obamacare exchanges, those 18-34, will be paying full price for their premiums," said Dr. Hogberg. "This will give them considerable incentive to forego insurance and just pay the individual mandate fine."

Meanwhile, the same health care law that discourages participation by young, healthy wage earners encourages it among those who will put more strain on the system. The study found that most exchanges will subsidize individuals age 52 and up who earn 400 percent of the federal poverty level, about $46,000 a year.

Politicians sold us an illusion that government would magically create affordable health care access for all. Instead, it's just another big tax on the young to subsidize the poor planning and excesses of older generations. It is more forced redistribution of wealth and nothing more. It is another of Obama's divisive agendas that take from one group and give to another.

"On balance, insurance on the exchanges is a much better deal for older and sicker people," said Sean Parnell, president of Impact Policy Management, a public policy consulting firm. "An insurance system that discourages young people from buying coverage but encourages older people is likely headed for a death spiral.

"A death spiral occurs when younger and healthier people needed to stabilize the risk pool don't sign up for insurance. Premiums for those who do purchase insurance will climb. The higher premiums encourage even more young and healthy people to drop insurance as premiums become less affordable. This eventually leads to a rising number of uninsured while those who remain insured are only the sickest, with the highest healthcare costs."

In other words, we'll have a surplus of takers and a shortage of givers. It's the type of ingenious public policy we get from legislators so loyal to one man and party they shrugged off reading the bill they approved.

Worst of all, the Obamacare soak-the-young tax hike has young people fighting for their jobs. Because the law places unaffordable, unfunded mandates on companies, employers throughout the country are converting countless full-time jobs into part-time jobs.

Even if we consider the jobs-killing bills crafted by Colorado's two recalled state senators, it's hard to imagine a law more divisive and destructive than The Great Divider's Obamacare.

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