Obamacare Costs: Wake Up Millennials, We're the Ones Paying the Bill

Do millennials really understand the consequences of Obamacare? It’s easy to take up the idealistic view that 30 million previously uninsured people will have health care at almost no cost, but it’s time for this same generation to realize we’ll be the ones paying for the massive costs for years to come. Real Clear Politics has lists here that show that the majority of Americans disapprove of the law.

Why aren’t Democrats listening to the people they’re supposed to be representing?

Forbes released an article (with others here, here, and here) detailing the skyrocketing costs of Obamacare. President Obama’s romantic promises to “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year” and claims of the low costs of Obamacare have been shown blatantly false by reports, including by Medicare’s expert actuaries, who have reported again that the bill will increase health costs by $621 billion. The Government Accountability Office reports that Obamacare will increase the deficit by $6.2 trillion. The Medicaid expansion is expected to cost federal taxpayers $709 billion from 2014 to 2023. When Obama was selling his health care legislation, he declared that, “The plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.” Instead, the Congressional Budget Office report found that it would actually cost double that — $1.8 trillion (May 2013).

In the same report, the law is also expected to create $771.3 billion in tax revenue, with the burden falling on the struggling middle class, not only in taxes but also through increased cost for goods, higher insurance premiums, and lost wages. What about, “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now, or in the future?" 

The 15-page report from the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a little over a week ago makes the rosy prediction that “premiums being around 16% lower than originally expected.” However, HHS compared the projected 2016 rates to the Congressional Budget Office’s findings, instead of comparing how much the rates would be relative to this year or future years without Obamacare. Former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said, “There are literally no comparisons to current rates. That is, HHS has chosen to dodge the question of whose rates are going up, and how much. Instead they try to distract with a comparison to a hypothetical number that has nothing to do with the actual experience of real people.”

There are plenty of new taxes being snuck in besides just the penalty tax. Those pre-existing conditions that are so conveniently covered still have to be paid for somehow — they’re just built into higher prices.

"They cherry picked the data in order to highlight the fact that people of low income will benefit under the law," adds Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. "But people of middle income will not. And they didn’t really talk about that." The Manhattan Institute analyzed rates around the country and found that for the middle class, costs will soar by as much as 99% for men and 62% for women. Many young people will see premiums double.

"Even if the average American gets some subsidy,” said Roy, "that partial subsidy won't be enough to overcome the dramatic increase in the cost of insurance … increases Obamacare imposes on the market." Let's not forget that you only qualify for cost-sharing deductibles if you purchase the "Silver" coverage plan. Analysts expect deductibles to be in the $5,000 to $6,000 range just for the lowest “Bronze” level plan.

If you’re poor but don’t qualify for Medicaid, you’re out of luck. Many people in this situation probably won't be able to afford health care on the exchange. If you earn too little to qualify for subsidies, you’ll have to pay full price for coverage, and low income residents could miss out on financial help. According to the Kaiser Foundation’s premium calculator, a 40-year-old man or woman who doesn’t smoke and earns $10,500 a year wouldn’t qualify for subsidies and would pay $3,200 a year, roughly a third of income for a “Bronze” plan.

A new study by the National Center for Public Policy Research wrote that in “11 of 15 [Obamacare] exchanges, the subsidies disappeared for people aged 18-34 even before $34,470 annually,” well below the promised cut-off at $45,960. About 3.7 million millennials, aged 18-34, will be at least $500 better off if they forgo insurance and simply pay the penalty. The uninsured population is disproportionately young, with 59% under 35 years of age, meaning that more than half of the uninsured would be better off paying the penalty than actually buying Obamacare. “Once the time value of money is taken into account, the average young person will be worse off under Obamacare even if they live long enough to be a near-elderly person who pays premiums that are well below actuarially fair rates,” writes Chris Conover in Forbes.

The Obama administration has brushed off high costs as something that the big, bad insurance companies will cover, but guess who they’ll pass those costs along to? Us.

States are already facing tens of thousands losing their health care under Obamacare. In several states, rates would jump enormously, such as 143% in Nebraska, 124% in Wisconsin, and 130% in New Mexico. The promise of keeping your old insurance is proving illusionary as well. Kathy Kristof for CBS News wrote, “My insurer, Kaiser Permanente, informed me in a glossy booklet that ‘At midnight on December 31, we will discontinue your current plan because it will not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.’ My premium, the letter added, would go from $209 a month to $348, a 66.5% increase that will cost $1,668 annually.”

"You hear all these excuses from the administration, that people are exaggerating the effect of the law," Roy said. "But real people are getting notices from their insurers now.” 

The blatant claims that Obamacare is good for the country are false Washington politics. The Obama Administration has perpetuated these false claims in order to push through this faulty bill. A free lunch is only free to the person receiving it. No matter how hidden the cost may be, it eventually has to be paid.

The American people need to shake off the rosy illusion of Obamacare. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Lexi Cory

I believe in old-fashioned hard work, individual rights, and small government. Originally from Alabama, I now enjoy working in politics and international relations in the DC area. I love the outdoors and traveling, and am currently a student at George Washington University working towards my degree in Political Science and International Relations.

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