Guest commentary: Opting out smart move for millennials
By EVAN FEINBERG
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.