College students will soon wake up to the fact that they have been had. While they were overwhelmingly supportive of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or “ObamaCare”) when their charismatic President was championing it, they will not be pleased when they find out that there is a huge price they will have to pay. ObamaCare will be anything but affordable.
Apparently, New Jersey is the only state in the nation that currently requires all college students to have healthcare coverage. This has always been a bare-bones plan costing from $100-600 per year. The new healthcare regulations will force these plans to be phased out, as the mandated coverage under ObamaCare will cause the premiums to rise from a few hundred dollars to $1,700 per year.
In an amazing example of irony, New Jersey Democrat Assemblywoman Celeste Riley is sponsoring a bill to eliminate New Jersey’s mandatory health insurance for college students. Wait. Didn’t Democrats overwhelmingly support the President’s plan when it was being debated? Aren’t college students citizens that should be required to purchase government-approved coverage as defined by Obama’s PPACA?
College students are getting an object lesson in progressivism. They will learn that their choices are being obliterated when it comes to what must be included in their plans. An edict came down that a college plan must cover 30 mental health outpatient visits as well as inpatient mental health benefits. It must cover substance and chemical abuse treatments, all pre-existing conditions, pregnancy, wellness/preventative care visits, contraception, and abortions.
One of my patients is enrolled in Christian Care Medi-Share, a faith-based health-sharing ministry whose members are exempt from ObamaCare. All Medi-Share enrollees must sign a pledge that they will avoid tobacco, illegal drugs, and excessive alcohol. They also pledge to abstain from sex outside of marriage. Any college student can have a remarkably inexpensive plan costing as low as $50/month for comprehensive sharing of bills up to $1 million. This is not bare-bones, but real help when needed most. It is a choice that patients ought to be able to make, a plan that enables them to benefit when they can choose to behave responsibly in a manner that enhances their own health and reduces their own chances of needing high-cost care. But New Jersey colleges will not accept this method of taking personal responsibility, only the Obama way.
New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, self-proclaimed author of ObamaCare, forthrightly stated that young people needed to buy costly ObamaCare plans in order to provide a subsidy to older and less healthy people. So here it is, college students, a valuable civics lesson that your college professors never made clear.
It is amusing to watch the Democrats backtrack. Faced with the specter of students dropping out of college because they can’t afford the required health coverage, Democrats are now beginning to recognize that the ObamaCare mandate for young people might not have been a good idea. Of course, under the PPACA, students could choose to pay a small tax instead, starting in 2014. But that will not help if the colleges still require coverage.
PPACA was deceptive from the start. We can only hope that bright students will challenge it before it is too late. Perhaps they will learn a lesson in liberty, and work to restore the principles and values that made our country great.
This article was originally published at www.aapsonline.org.
Dr. Alieta Eck, MD, Past President of AAPS, graduated from the Rutgers College of Pharmacy in NJ and the St. Louis School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. She studied Internal Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ and has been in private practice with her husband, Dr. John Eck, MD in Piscataway, NJ since 1988. She has been involved in health care reform since residency and is convinced that the government is a poor provider of medical care. She testified before the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress in 2004 about better ways to deliver health care in the United States. In 2003, she and her husband founded the Zarephath Health Center, a free clinic for the poor and uninsured that currently cares for 300-400 patients per month utilizing the donated services of volunteer physicians and nurses. Dr. Eck is a long time member of the Christian Medical Dental Association and in 2009 joined the board of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. In addition, she serves on the board of Christian Care Medi-Share, a faith based medical cost sharing Ministry. She is a member of Zarephath Christian Church and she and her husband have five children, one is a physician interning in New Haven, Connecticut.