Fantasy Economics of Obamacare

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

It’s one thing to play fantasy football or fantasy baseball. It’s quite another to play fantasy economics. Unfortunately, too many academics do too little of the former and too much of the latter.

In the latest issue of The Chronicle Review, Beau Ewan, an adjunct English professor at Northwood University reminisced about his days in graduate school: “Since I was in the gray area of half-student, half-employee, it’s unclear whether I would have qualified for insurance under the Affordable Care Act,” he reflected. “I do know, though, that had it existed then, I could have purchased private insurance at a far cheaper rate.”

Perhaps Beau should ask some students who are in that age-bracket now, and opting out of Obamacare, why they are doing so.  “Some 106,185 people signed up for Obamacare in its first month of operation, a period marred by major technological problems with both the federal and state enrollment websites, Tami Lubby pointed out on the CNN Money site on November 13, 2013. “Fewer than 27,000 Americans selected an insurance plan through the federal site, which is handling enrollment for 36 states, according to figures released Wednesday by the Obama administration.”

“The site is still far from fully operational, leaving tech experts racing to get it working by month’s end, as the administration promised.”  These enrollees are not broken down by age but Lubby notes:  “The number of people signing up is just part of what determines the success of the site. The exchanges also have to attract many younger, healthier people to balance the older, sicker Americans who are more desperate for coverage and are most costly for insurers. The administration did not release a breakdown of who has signed up so far, but [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius said it will provide those details in the future.” Sebelius just might do that: She’s been subpoenaed at least once in the past month.

“These numbers reflect what Generation Opportunity has been saying for months: young people know a bad deal when they see one,” Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg says. “We recognize better options are available outside the exchanges, so we’re overwhelmingly choosing to Opt Out and buy insurance policies that better meet our needs and budgets.”

“Obamacare’s success depends on millions of young people paying three times more for insurance so older people can pay slightly less. It’s a generational game rigged against us, and we’re not interested in playing.”


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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