Home / Blog / Article


September 28 2016

Latest ObamaCare Pitch: Healthy Adulting?

Patrice L. Onwuka

The Obama Administration has a new pitch to get millennials to sign up for ObamaCare that is based on a warped view of young people: we are adult children in need of parenting from Washington bureaucrats.

At a White House event yesterday, the Obama Administration launched its latest outreach effort, a social media outreach campaign on the theme “#HealthyAdulting.” A quick Twitter and Google search turns up gifs and memes making fun of young people who avoid adulthood or are incompetent when it comes to making grown-up choices. The “Adulting 101”, “Just holding a vegetable feels healthy,” and the “I’m done adulating. Let’s be mermaids” are a few of my favorites.

The Obama Administration will also target gamers on Twitch, a social video platform and gaming community that is rich with young, healthy and potentially uninsured young people. The website draws a reported 10 million active daily users with 18 to 34 year olds being among their core users.

Other parts of their millennial outreach include a joint effort between the White House, HHS, and the Department of Education to engage college campuses in enrolling students. The Challenge will include activities on campuses and sending email reminders to students about enrollment deadlines. The prize will be recognition by President Obama and a chance to visit the White House for Healthy Campus Day. They plan to focus on community college students, according to a White House blog post. Students who attend community colleges may not get plans through their schools or coverage on their parents’ plans.

Let’s not forget though that community college students and students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) lost their healthcare coverage three years ago when ObamaCare forced their schools to cancel their plans. Cheap barebones plans were no longer ObamaCare-compliant and these kids found themselves with no affordable alternatives and thus no longer covered thanks to President ObamaCare.

The Administration is desperate for young, fresh blood and they aren’t hiding it. CNBC reports:

Kevin Counihan, CEO of the federal Obamacare exchange HealthCare.gov, said that more than 9 out of every 10 young adults who is eligible to enroll in an Obamacare plan have low or moderate incomes that would qualify them for federal tax credits that would reduce what they pay in monthly premiums.

"But that fact hasn't fully permeated the millennial community, and we want to change that," said Counihan, whose marketplace sells health plans in 38 states.

"This year, we'll be using new tactics and strategies to reach young adults where they are and deliver the message that they have affordable coverage options. These new tactics will both benefit young Americans and strengthen the marketplace risk pool."

Counihan must have forgotten that we’ve seen it all before. This effort is an extension of the marketing and outreach efforts the Obama Administration has tried over the past three years. Beyond pajama boy and bro' surance ads, back in 2013 and 2014, the Obama Administration stalked Millennials at house parties and sneaker stores. They enlisted celebrities like Ellen DeGeneris, Kal Penn, and Amy Poehler to push it on social media. They even created ads featuring kittens and puppies.

It all wasn’t enough to lure young people onto a system that forces them to pay higher healthcare costs to subsidize older, sicker Americans. Young people sat out ObamaCare, causing its undoing, and many remain uninsured. About 16 percent of Americans between 25 and 34 have opted to remain uninsured – 71 percent higher than the uninsured rate for 45- to 65-year-olds. Insurance companies, pummeled by rising costs due to imbalanced risk pools, have pulled out of ObamaCare markets, leaving just one provider in some areas and driving prices even higher. The double-digit premium increases expected this year will be a turn-off to young Americans. In the ultimate snub, they’re willing to take the tax penalty.

One young person explains it well in the Wall Street Journal:

ObamaCare is plainly unaffordable for many young Americans. We’re at the start of our careers—and the bottom of the income ladder—so paying so much for something we likely won’t use makes little sense. The IRS penalty of $695 or 2.5% of our income is often cheap by comparison. We may be young, but we can do the math.

Nothing the White House says at the summit on Tuesday can change this reality. Young Americans aren’t looking for “outreach” and “engagement” from President Obama. We’re looking for affordable health-insurance plans—and ObamaCare doesn’t offer them.

Instead of coming to grips with the bad deal that is ObamaCare, the Obama Administration is doubling down. Couple that with the IRS’s plans to reach out to the uninsured that they face a penalty, Millennials can look forward to being hounded on many fronts.

Even if the tactics change, the goals and assumptions underlying this strategy are the same. ObamaCare is not the health-care revolution that lowers costs for young making it an attractive option. Young people are smart enough to see that and make the best decisions for themselves. This is contrary to the view (articulated by Michelle Obama, who called us “knuckleheads”) that we have yet to grow up, we can’t make adult decisions for ourselves, and we are in need of commands over how to live our lives. We know what’s best for us and it’s not ObamaCare.

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.
Follow us