In preparation for the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration took its message to college campuses, such as the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and others, to sign up as many students as possible. They’ve even brought on board Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler and other celebrities to help convince Millennials the exchanges are cool.
Apparently they think Millennials are gullible. But no veneer of popularity can mask the exchange system’s deep problems. The simple fact is they are a bad deal for young people. And as a result, it makes more financial sense for Millennials to opt out and purchase a non-Obamacare policy on the private market.
The most obvious problem with the exchange system is how it perversely relies on a system of generational redistribution. Quite simply, the law takes from the young to subsidize the old. That’s why the White House is so dead-set on getting young people to sign up. Without our money, the system won’t work and the exchanges will enter what has been called a “death spiral.”
What’s missing in this political calculus is the realization that young people are the least able to afford to purchase healthcare. In an era of sky-high student loan debt, 16.1 percent unemployment and stagnating, and even falling, salaries, Obamacare is estimated to increase insurance premiums for young people by an average of 169 percent.
Coughing up that much cash isn’t just unaffordable; it’s financial suicide for a debt-ridden generation struggling to find good jobs.
My generation’s concerns with Obamacare don’t end with the costs. Another sticking point is the law’s “Federal Data Services Hub.” This term is at best a euphemism; the Data Hub is an enormous database of every participant’s private medical records, tax and financial info, legal history and other intimate information that we probably wouldn’t want out in the open.
It’s basically an NSA-esque database of TMI — Too Much Information.
And there are way too many hands in this overflowing informational cookie jar. As it stands, local law enforcement, insurance companies and innumerable federal agencies and low-level bureaucrats will have access to the Data Hub’s treasure trove of personal info. Even the law’s “navigators” — employees from non-governmental groups, some of which are politically controversial — will have access to the database’s secrets.
These problems, along with others, have caused Congress to exempt itself from the exchange. Similarly, unions, corporations and others with political connections have received waivers or extensions from the administration. Not everyone has been so lucky.
Thankfully, Millennials do have one remaining option: Opt out of Obamacare. This path allows them to pay a small penalty, which then frees them to purchase health insurance outside of the exchange system.
Evan Feinberg is president of Generation Opportunity.