Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet: The Top 8 Obamacare Harms to Millennials

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Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

“Millennials,” the group of young people born after 1980, overwhelmingly voted in 2008 for politicians who promised “healthcare for all” and sponsored the “Affordable Care Act” (aka Obamacare). Sadly, young people took on faith the promises of an orator and did not read the text of the law before it was passed on a 100% Democrat partisan vote by politicians who didn’t read it either.

These Millennials are finding out they’ve been “had” in promises not kept. Their health insurance premiums are skyrocketing. Their mandated coverage is far broader (ergo, more expensive) than many healthy young people need. Their choices of doctors and hospitals are now limited.

Because young people voted in droves for Obama in 2008 and 2012, architects of the healthcare law assumed they would “vote” for the ACA by enrolling in ObamaCare. Young people, however, are pretty savvy. They have learned a lesson: READ what you sign up for before you buy. They are not signing up as anticipated.

Here are the Top Eight ACA Harms to Young Millennials:

  1. Health insurance premiums are much higher. Before ACA, a young person typically paid $100-150 per month for a basic policy. Now, for Aetna’s ACA-compliant Classic Silver Plan, a young person making $25,000 per year would now pay $2,424/year (10% of income) in Arizona, or $3,576/year in Illinois.
  2. Deductibles have doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. For the plans above, before the ACA, a young person paid $1,000-$2,000 out of pocket to meet the deductible before insurance coverage started. After the ACA, average deductibles range from $4,000 to $6,000 before insurance starts to pay!
  3. Today’s Millennials are less able to afford insurance than Baby Boomers were at their age. Millennials may be more highly educated, but they have also accumulated greater debt, and face a stagnant employment and income situation—partly created or worsened by ACA. In 2014, nearly half of the unemployed in the US are under 34. That is a catastrophic change from the year 2000. Then, the US had the lowest unemployment rate for those 18-34, compared to other wealthy economies.
  4. ACA insurance is not sustainable. Millennials have done the math. They have seen it costs less to pay the mandated penalties (taxes), pay for basic medical care out of pocket, and only sign up for an insurance plan if something serious happens. Thus, sign-ups are far lower than needed for the economics of ACA to work, so future premiums will be even higher.
  5. ACA means less employer-sponsored insurance. Higher costs and mandates, coupled with slow growth and uncertainty, have meant that employers are not hiring as many full-time employees to avoid paying for high cost health insurance.
  6. Millennials are overcharged for insurance to subsidize the costs of aging Baby Boomers. They must also pay for mandated benefits they will never use. For one example: Why does a single male need to pay for pregnancy and maternity care insurance benefits?
  7. The quality and availability of care will worsen for everyone as services are cut to rein in spending: fewer doctors and specialists, more use of physician assistants and nurse practitioners, fewer specialty cancer centers and other hospitals in allowed networks.
  8. The enormous costs of implementing ACA will add to the crushing debt burden that Millennials, and the generations following them, will be expected to pay despite their drastically reduced income opportunities.

Millennials are coming to see that they were pawns used to meet goals of a government-run, top-down health care ideology that has never worked in any economy. Concept has trumped concern for young people’s real medical care needs as well as their economic future. Millennials are seeing that the elites and political cronies get exemptions, but the “average Joe” does not.

Millennials create infinitely varied custom set-ups for their smart phones and computers. They are not a group who takes kindly to “one-size-fits-all” medical insurance policies! They need to look at the expanded opportunity and freedom that comes with individual control and free markets.

Betrayed by politicians, Millennials need to get engaged and fight for true, patient-centered reform. Their health—and their lives—depend on it.

Read more by Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. http://www.aapsonline.org/index.php/search/b83f9018254eadb778711c230014c4e0/


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