by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
…Until the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces are scheduled to go live.
The individual marketplaces will fail if not enough people sign up to purchase heavily regulated health plans. Of the 7 million Americans needed to purchase health coverage to sustain the online marketplaces, more than 2 million consumers must be young, healthy citizens (ages 18-30). The government relies heavily on the young invincibles to sign up for insurance so their unnecessarily high premiums will subsidize the premiums of the unhealthy.
This week in Houston, Texas, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Obama administration has created a video competition that will award $30,000 in prizes for young individuals who create the best Obamacare ads.
Houston, we have a problem.
If the federal health law was sound policy, the Obama administration would not be scrambling to make it work. Evidently, the landmark legislation incessantly produces more unintended consequences. Over half of the law’s implementation dates have been delayed. Only 12 percent of the public supports the individual mandate. Let me repeat that — only 12 percent of the public supports the individual mandate. Even members of Congress didn’t like the fact that they once were required to follow the law they themselves implemented.
Having health insurance can be critical to one’s longevity, but people should not be penalized for opting out. If the young and healthy would rather pay a tax of $95 or 1% of their income (whichever is greater), that’s their individual right. We live in a country founded upon principles of individual choice and personal responsibility.