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May 29 2014

ObamaCare Helps Healthy Privileged College Grads

Patrice J. Lee

The President’s signature health care act was supposed to help the poor and uninsured. As we’ve reported, ObamaCare hasn’t really moved the needle on uninsured Americans.

One group of Americans is making out nicely thanks to ObamaCare – those who didn’t need the help in the first place. Healthy college graduates now able to stay longer on their parents’ health insurance are coming out as winners under ObamaCare. But their degreeless counterparts are left out in the cold.

According to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, college graduates who remained on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26 had “striking gains’ in healthy behaviors.  Young adults without a college degree reported no health benefits.

At work in part is privilege and in part being born into a family with financial security that hasn’t been shaken by the economic recession. These are college kids whose parents probably always had good health insurance that included them, and, now thanks to ObamaCare, they can benefit much longer.  These are also young people who tended to have good health and good habits before ObamaCare, which remains the case and continues to contribute to their health.

The Daily Caller reports on this study:

At least one major Obamacare provision is only improving health in college graduates, but failing to provide any health benefits to those with less privilege, according to a new report.


… those who are garnering health benefits from the rule may be those that needed it the least. Adults benefiting from the rule were more likely to have already had health insurance, unsurprisingly — parents able to keep their adult children on their health insurance plan until age 26 presumably provided health coverage through their lives. Accordingly, the study found that those who stay on their parents’ plans have fewer health needs that were previously unmet due to cost, as the previously uninsured would be.

Further health improvements, however, were more likely for those who had a college degree. In fact, there was a significant uptick in preventive health care among the college-educated — including higher numbers of “well-patient checkups,” a significant decline in obesity and “very good” or “excellent” self-reported health.

But none of the health improvements were seen for those who weren’t college graduates, indicating that while Obamacare is providing insurance, it’s only providing health care for some.

We’ve called the President out for some disingenuous statements before on the topic of ObamaCare including the “fuzzy math” he used to claim that more young people gained coverage during the open enrollment period.

The Administration has used the “adult child” coverage expansion as a talking point to claim that the health care law had provided 3 million people with insurance coverage because of it, which is wrong. They then turned around and blamed the lackluster number of young adult sign-ups on the same provision. As is often the case, President Obama wants to have it both ways.

This report is a damning revelation about the effectiveness of ObamaCare in helping the uninsured. Young people who didn’t need the help before are getting a bigger break and those who really need it such as students at community colleges and black colleges and universities are worse off than before ObamaCare. Many attending community and black colleges groups lost their healthcare plans last fall thanks to ObamaCare and now face more expensive plans in the ObamaCare exchanges.

The law of unintended consequences is on full display here, if only the President would pay attention.

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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