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March 15 2014

Fact Check: ObamaCare Isn’t as Cheap as a Cell Phone Bill

Patrice J. Lee

In the final big PR push before the March 31 deadline, the Administration is trying everything to get young people to sign up for ObamaCare. Ads are running featuring moms trying to convince their “adult children” to sign up during popular TV viewing hours. In a last-ditch effort to persuade young people to sign up, POTUS Obama appeared on a Funny or Die “Between the Ferns” video and allowed host Zack Galifianakis to take potshots at him about about the failures of ObamaCare (the video has gone viral).

No matter the forum, no amount of pandering to young people is working. We are not signing up and it has a lot to do with the high cost of ObamaCare. The president has used the pitch that a young person can purchase coverage for the price of a cell phone bill, but new analysis debunks that as yet another ObamaCare myth.

With just two weeks to go, the Administration is behind on its six-million-enrollment target by about two million people. Of those who have signed up, only 25 percent are young people compared to the 40 percent that the Administration needs to make this health insurance system work.

Convincing young people that ObamaCare is cheaper than current options or not carrying healthcare coverage at all, isn’t working because young people are doing the math for themselves. And for those who haven’t done the math, we have it for you.

The Daily Caller analyzes average cell phone bills for the largest carriers and compares them to ObamaCare plan costs.

One of President Barack Obama’s favorite new Obamacare sign-up pitches is that young enrollees, which the law banks on for sustainability, can get health insurance for the price of a monthly cellphone bill. But in reality, premiums are more than a little pricier.

Discounting taxes nationwide, that plan costs about $90 on Verizon, $80 on AT&T, $70 on Sprint, and $60 on T-Mobile every month. Both Sprint and T-Mobile offer the same plans with unlimited monthly data for $80. All pricing is relevant as of January 2014.

Of the Affordable Care Act’s “bronze,” “silver” and “gold” coverage plans offered on the Washington, D.C. health insurance exchange marketplace, the cheapest middle-of-the-road equivalent silver plan is $181.01 per month, after subsidies, for the lowest age bracket, which covers 27-year-olds and under that make about $25,000 annually. Silver plans must cover 70 percent of all medical costs, according to the law.

Altogether, that makes the average monthly cost of health care for young people under the Affordable Care Act a little more than twice as expensive as the average cellphone bill.

The President ought to check his facts before he makes claims about the cost of ObamaCare. That ObamaCare plans are more than twice as expensive as the average cell phone bill reveals how unaffordable the Affordable Care Act actually is. It also reveals how out of touch the President and the Administration are with the lives of Americans. These new higher costs eat up any discretionary spending and for that Americans receive it’s not a good deal.

As a reminder, the effective unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is nearly 16 percent. 1.9 million young people have dropped out of the job market because they can’t find work. Others face part-time work with even fewer hours as employers try to stay below the threshold that triggers providing coverage. So, discretionary income for many young people is limited.

Something left out of the equation is that some of the savings –if there are any- for Americans who choose ObamaCare depend on qualifying for subsidies. If ObamaCare is meant to be affordable, it shouldn’t have to depend on tax-payer subsidized giveaways. There have always been private options, but thanks to ObamaCare, many low-cost plans that young Americans relied upon before have been eliminated. ObamaCare has done a lot to restrict access to affordable healthcare, which is the opposite of its intentions.

Reality is buzzing the President with a message that ObamaCare is a bad deal for young Americans. That’s a call he needs to take.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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