October 19 2015
One News Now
A policy analyst is not surprised by news that it's getting harder for the uninsured to sign up for ObamaCare or by the fact that young people are not that concerned with enrolling.
The next open enrollment period for ObamaCare begins November 1st, and HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell has set a target of having 10 million people enrolled and paying premiums by the end of next year. That is roughly the same number of people now covered through the Affordable Care Act's online markets for taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance.
But according to Burwell, it is getting more difficult to sign up the remaining uninsured, as many young people, for instance, "have a lot of concerns about whether they can afford coverage."
Premiums are expected to go up next year, and even though there is now a tax penalty for not having health insurance, young adults on tight budgets may opt for the penalty instead of subsidized health insurance they do not see as a need in at this time.
Patrice Lee, national spokeswoman for the young Americans organization Generation Opportunity, thinks "that a lot of young people, and I talk to them every day, they're thinking to themselves that with a tight budget, with student loan debt, and for those who are even able to find jobs, this is not going to be the first priority for them."
Lee recognizes that carrying health insurance is important and responsible, but she contends that "we should have a lot more choice than we currently have."
"And unfortunately, ObamaCare has eroded choice in the private market and in the healthcare space," the General Opportunity spokeswoman continues. "As a young person, we've seen healthcare premiums double, and triple in some cases. We're being asked to pay for assistance that is weighted against us. We're paying more for frankly less care."
Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the Independent Women's Forum (IWF), is not surprised by the difficulties or the concerns associated with ObamaCare.
"Anyone who has followed the Affordable Care Act from the very beginning knew that there were some people who were going to be attracted by the law's subsidies and that there are other people for whom ObamaCare poses a significant financial burden, and that includes some people who received subsidies."
Manning explains that the rate hikes are due to some of ObamaCare's requirements that plans cover many services, some of which consumers may not want or need. ObamaCare also takes a lot of the risk variables out of the pricing equations for insurance.
"These things lead to rate hikes," she notes. "Then, even for some people who receive subsidies -- those subsidies are not enough to make health insurance affordable for them because of the way ObamaCare makes health insurance more expensive."
The IWF health policy director thinks it was only a matter of time before HHS would face this kind of slowdown
"It's not a surprise to me," she concludes, "and it's mainly driven by the high cost of health insurance."