Guest commentary: Opting out smart move for millennials

Guest commentary: Opting out smart move for millennials


In preparation for the rollout of Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration is taking its message to college campuses like the University of Illinois to sign up as many students as possible. They've even brought on board Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler and other celebrities to help convince millennials that the exchanges are cool.

Apparently they think millennials are gullible. But no veneer of popularity can mask the exchange system's deep problems. The simple fact is that they are a bad deal for young people. And as a result, it makes more financial sense for millennials to opt out and purchase a non-Obamacare policy on the private market.

The most obvious problem with the exchange system is how it perversely relies on a system of generational redistribution. Quite simply, the law takes from the young to subsidize the old.

What's missing in this political calculus is the realization that young people are the least able to afford to purchase health care.

My generation's concerns with Obamacare don't end with the costs. Another sticking point is the law's "Federal Data Services Hub." This term is at best a euphemism; the Data Hub is an enormous database of every participant's private medical records, tax and financial info, legal history, and other intimate information that we probably wouldn't want out in the open. It's basically an NSA-esque database of TMI — "Too Much Information."

Thankfully, millennials do have one remaining option: Opt out of Obamacare. This path allows them to pay a small penalty, which then frees them to purchase health insurance outside of the exchange system.

Young people can actually end up saving a substantial amount of money by taking this road. A recent study by the National Center for Public Policy Research estimates that 3.7 million Americans between ages 18 and 34 will save at least $500. A full 3 million will even save as much as $1,000. Opting out of Obamacare is thus an attractive option for millennials, who tend to be healthy and need a greater share of their paychecks in order to make ends meet.

Of course, the alternative is for them to join an exchange system that both picks their pockets and shares their secrets. No celebrity is popular enough to gloss over that.

Evan Feinberg is president of Generation Opportunity, a national, nonpartisan organization advocating for economic opportunity for young people through less government and more freedom.

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CFG wrote on October 06, 2013 at 8:10 am

There is nothing "nonpartisan" about Evan Feinberg.  He ran for congress as a Republican against Tim Murphy in Western Pennsylvania, and lost.  He has been an aide to Republican Senator Rand Paul, Republican Senator Tom Coburn, and worked for the Heritage Foundation, a super-conservative think tank.  

Also, a little googling suggests that there is nothing grass roots about Generation Opportunity- it's also a right-wing astroturf organization.

cgirl wrote on October 06, 2013 at 11:10 am

Wait a second, you're saying its cheaper to not have health insurance than to have health insurance?  OMG, that's such a new idea, no wonder it's news!

.....unless, of course, you get sick.  Or require medications.  Or require vaccinations.  Or want preventative health care.

Of course, under the new laws the "young folks" can stay on their parent's plan until they're 26, so they're less affected by high insurance premiums than before.

And if you're really poor and unable to afford health insurance, (up to 400% of the poverty level) the government will give you either a tax credit or a direct premium adjustment to make insurance more affordable.  I think I read somewhere, that the poorest people can get up to $40 a month of their insurance premium paid for by the government.

$40 *12 months = $480...almost the same as the average savings without buying health insurace.  Except that you actually GET health insurance.

And that isn't taking into account health savings from preventative health care, from preventative dental and vision care, the likely narrowing of the gender pay gap, the increase to GDP from women who'll be able to work longer with access to birth control and the other benefits from Obamacare.



STM wrote on October 06, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Feinberg is telling young people to opt out, yet pay the fines for non-compliance to save $500 to a thousand dollars and get...nothing.

He's kidding, right? He's claiming generational "redistribution" because the premiums of the healthy young keep down premiums of at-risk or older insurees. As an older person, I don't like paying higher auto insurance premiums to cover at-risk young drivers.  It's just the way things are done.

Feinberg is paid well to spread this propaganda. Too bad his clients aren't able to provide him with a more-compelling argument.  Whatever they're paying him, it's too much.  They're getting nothing for their money - just like people who choose to opt out and pay the fines...brilliant.

STM wrote on October 08, 2013 at 8:10 am

BTW, Feinberg is listed as a "guest commentary."  Did the News Gazette solicit this commentary, did Feinberg seek out the News Gazette, or is he simply blanketing low-circulation newspapers with his opinions? Just curious.

EdRyan wrote on October 08, 2013 at 4:10 pm

This stuff is syndicated just in case you'd like to buy some!