Obama’s signature policy burdens youth

Eric Pollitt
Guest Columnist

Four years ago the president’s dream legislation, the Affordable Care Act, was passed. This was a big deal in America’s history, because this was the government monopoly that would spread the wealth around and redistribute health care costs. Still, America’s youth was told the ACA would not add a dime to the deficit.

The first crucial promise, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period,” was an essential promise to the youth. Most young people, prior to the ACA, were covered under their parents’ plan or were insured under a barebones catastrophic plan. The limited catastrophic plans were designed specifically for young people because adults, as compared to young adults, consume three to five times as much health care according to a Heritage study from 2012. Catastrophic plans kept the youth from paying artificially high costs of coverage that have skyrocketed under the ACA.

The average deductible, or the amount of out-of-pocket spending before your health care plan kicks in, for the average 21-year-old in 2013 was almost $3,600, according to a December 2013 Forbes article.

The average monthly premium for this plan was about $140 a month. To purchase a plan with the same deductible, a 21-year-old would now have to pay about $260, an 81 percent increase. Although we were promised multiple times “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” and, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” this clearly wasn’t true.

For young people who would rather be covered under their parent’s plans until they are 26, this does not solve the job killing problem this bill has created. Even if the amount we pay for our new health insurance plan decreases, will this be enough to offset the increased taxes to subsidize individuals who cannot meet the individual mandate?

Whenever there is a new tax on employers to provide a benefit to their employees, profits are cut. The employer mandate only applies to firms with 50 or more employees, and even then only applies to those employees who work 30 or more hours.

This is a disincentive for firms to grow, shrinking entry-level job availability and hurting recent college graduates who have the least amount of professional experience. Youth unemployment under the current White House is at 16.3 percent, and the debt per student is about $29,400, according to the Washington Post.

A long-term problem of this bill is the continuous bailouts the government gives to insurance monopolies. These are paid for by artificial increases in health insurance costs for the first three years.

Two sections of the bill trigger an automatic bailout of insurance companies. One collects $63 per insured person from insurers and self-insuring employers. This is an estimated total of almost $20 billion over three years. The reason for this estimated $20 billion is so section 1342 of the ACA can cover 80 percent of insurance losses.

We have to artificially pay more for their health insurance and were not able to keep the more affordable plans as promised. The youth unemployment has stayed above 15 percent for the entire time our community organizing law professor in chief has been in office, with no signs of decrease thanks to the ACA. Youth underemployment for college graduates between ages 22-25 is 50 percent. With future medical costs rising, increasing tuition, student loan debt, high unemployment and underemployment, young people will have to put off big financial purchases and ultimately the American dream.

Once again, Obama’s progressive dream has become another burden for America’s youth.

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