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OPINION

Young People Deserve Better than Cruddy ObamaCare

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

ObamaCare is just as bad as we expected. The so-called Affordable Care Act has turned out to be unaffordable and messy. Nearly everyone is worst off under the law but young people have been hit the hardest.

The success of the law depends on young people signing up for the ObamaCare exchanges. The Obama administration wants to have 2.7 million 18 to 35 year olds in the exchanges by the end of March. Unless a miracle happens, they are going to fail miserably at reaching that goal.

Take a look at how few young people have signed up. Early data shows that more old and sick people have signed up than young and healthy people. No shocker there. Why would young people be eager to sign up for a bad deal?

Young people that rarely see a doctor will see their health care costs skyrocket in the exchanges. The health care costs of 64 year olds are typically six times higher than 18 year olds. Young people will be the ones paying for older people in the system.

Most young single people with no kids will save at least $500 by not opting into the exchanges and paying the government fine instead. Yes, starting next year, everyone will be forced to buy a private product, thanks to ObamaCare. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want health insurance or if you can’t reasonably afford it.

Lately, it’s become more difficult to afford health insurance. ObamaCare will directly increase health insurance premiums by 41 percent, on average. That’s what happens when the government requires that all health insurance plans cover a wide range of procedures and services. Smaller insurance companies are wiped out and people have less choice over their health care plans.

People should be able to choose the health insurance plan that makes sense for their needs. A devout Catholic woman shouldn’t be forced to pay more for an insurance plan that covers birth control that she doesn’t want. And assumingly, young men probably aren’t too thrilled about mandatory maternity care coverage.

Believe it or not, ObamaCare encourages employers to stop offering health insurance. Young, entry level employees are most likely to lose their pre-existing coverage. Almost 5 million Americans have received notices that their job-based health insurance has been cancelled. An estimated 80 million cancellations could be on their way.

Oh, and young people might need to get two jobs to pay the rent. ObamaCare punishes employers with over 50 “full time” employees. A full time worker is defined as someone working 30 or more hours a week. Workers from over 360 companies have already had their hours cut to 29 hours a week. Most of these people are likely young low wage employees.

Almost 6 million young Americans are out of work and not in school. Since ObamaCare is extremely complicated, many employers are getting rid of entry level positions and avoiding new hires because they have no idea how it will be enforced. A Gallup poll shows that
41 percent of small businesses have frozen hiring because of ObamaCare.

Young people are going to be stuck with ObamaCare’s gigantic bill. The law will cost about $2.4 trillion in the first decade alone and add $6.2 trillion to the long term deficit. It’s hard for anyone to wrap their head around those huge numbers.

Now that we know the problems, what is the solution? The alternative to ObamaCare is called freedom. The free market can provide better quality health care at a lower cost. Patient-centered health care is preferable to top-down approaches.

Government didn’t take control over a huge chunk of our health care overnight. Unfortunately, there isn’t a special button to press that will repeal all the horrible government regulations that have hurt health care quality.

Incremental steps in the right direction are necessary to achieve a pure free market. Individuals should be allowed to buy health insurance across state lines. Taxpayers should be allowed to receive tax deductions for medical expenses. People should have the freedom to opt out of federal insurance benefits, without penalty. Elderly people should be allowed to buy private insurance. And of course, there should be no special treatment for members of Congress, businesses, unions, and so on.

The rollout of ObamaCare has been an utter disaster. There is a better way. Halt the government takeover of health care and allow individuals to make their own health care decisions. Freedom works better than central planning.

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