Ah, but at the same time, the White House realizes Obamacare relies on these same young people coughing up money they don’t have. The administration will “need to entice a sufficient number of young and healthy adults into the new insurance marketplaces that open Oct. 1,” note Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post. “This, then, is the crux of Obamacare’s challenge: Can the federal government persuade young, healthy people to buy health insurance?”
The White House is, predictably, treating this is if it were a political campaign, complete with in-depth polls, messaging and “micro-targeting.” And perhaps a few good ads and cool presidential speeches will convince people in their 20s to spend hundreds of dollars per month that they can’t afford. Maybe they can just roll it into their student loan debt?
Still, if young people don’t participate, “…the new insurance marketplaces – the absolute core of Obamacare – will be filled with older, sicker people, and premiums will skyrocket. And if that happens, the law will fail,” Klein and Kliff conclude.
Obamacare’s not alone; Social Security also relies on that same pool of young people.
It’s been sold to Americans as an insurance program, so people tend to assume that the money they’re paying in is being saved for them somehow, somewhere. Instead, the money collected today is being spent on today’s retirees. There’s nothing in the “trust fund” except IOUs.
Now that Social Security is paying out more than it takes in each year, it will need a growing supply of younger workers to pay older retirees their benefits. It would help if those younger people could get actual paying jobs.
Things could be worse, and are elsewhere in the Western world. “Why would you have a kid in Portugal?” Mark Steyn wonders. “The country’s youth-unemployment rate is over 40 percent. In Spain, it’s 57 percent and in Greece just shy of 63 percent.” At least Americans are replacing ourselves, so there’s a potential that we’ll have a solid economic future.
But our country’s future depends on getting people back to work. Obamacare was a big step in the wrong direction, having given companies incentives not to hire new employees. Hence, the administration’s constitutionally questionable decision to suspend the employer mandate.
It will have to do more than that to create opportunities for younger Americans. That will require removing Obamacare, reducing regulations and finding ways to slash student debt (such as with inexpensive college degree programs).
Our future depends on young people. Government should get out of the way and give them the ability to build that future.
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