Balancing Obamacare on the Backs of the Obama Generation

Mike Brownfield /

Remember the Obama campaign?

President Barack Obama’s victory was built, at least in part, on the hopes and dreams of eager young adults and bright-eyed, liberal college students who donned t-shirts emblazoned with the symbol of their champion, knocked on doors and made phone calls, all in the belief that the youthful senator from Illinois would bring about hope, change and a new dawn in America.

Guess what? Change is coming. Obamacare, embodied in two giant telephone book-sized congressional bills, chock full of all sorts of complex new rules and regulations, will be built on the backs of those same young Americans who helped put Obama in office.

Although the Administration promised – repeatedly – that health care costs would go down under health care reform, a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office says “the proposal would tend to increase premiums for people who are young and relatively healthy and decrease premiums for those who are older and relatively unhealthy.” Those reasons abound, as detailed elsewhere on The Foundry. So, young Americans are expected to pay more — a lot more — for their health insurance.

But wait! This is only part of the untold story of Obamacare. For the Obama Generation, there is one other very big provision in both the House and Senate health bills that wasn’t part of the Obama campaign platform. Young Americans would be forced into buying health care coverage that the bureaucrats in Washington specify or face a penalty for not buying it.

Here’s the rub. Under Obamacare and with few exceptions, younger, healthier people who otherwise would have had the freedom to purchase less expensive insurance of their choice or simply pay cash for their routine medical expenses outside of insurance, will have to pay about the same amount for their health insurance as older and sicker people with radically higher health care costs. Because the amount premiums can vary based on age is restricted, the younger and healthier people end up paying for (through higher premiums) the older and less healthy who are more expensive to insure. Many of the young people who propelled Barack Obama into office will pay a higher price for the change they are getting.

Of course, these young Americans can just decide not to buy the coverage and pay the penalty, which may be cheaper than buying a high priced plan that probably covers more than they need or want. If they end up getting sick, they can hope the young and healthy people are willing to pay for their costs, too.

Recent events in California’s public university system might shine some light on how the Obama Generation will take the news, once it hits their checkbooks.

In November, the UC Board of Regents considered and approved a 32 percent, $2,500 per student fee increase that spurred massive protests among the student body.

It’s not clear whether the students were aware that they were, in fact, protesting a government mandated fee, not unlike the much more expensive one they’ll face under Obamacare, but it is clear they were stark raving mad.

The Los Angeles times reported on a sit-in at UCLA, where about 50 students chained themselves to the doors of a university building in protest of the hike. Meanwhile, hundreds gathered in protest outside the building where the regents were meeting.

Some choice quotes from the protestors, as reported by the LA Times:

We choose to fight back, to resist, where we find ourselves, the place where we live and work, our university.

And from freshman Jasmine Guerrero, who the LA Times reports feared she would have to drop out of school:

“I can’t afford it,” said Guerrero, who wore a red bandanna across her face. “They (the regents) don’t care. They’re laughing at us.

That $2,500 fee would be a drop in the bucket compared to the federal health care mandate that those same individuals would face under the Senate health care bill. As such, President Obama owes the Obama Generation an explanation of the incredible burden they will face under his health care reforms.