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Obamacare and the onset of the self-inflicted millennial malaise ‘death spiral’

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The Affordable Care Act is "intentionally designed to screw over young people" Newsmax quoted Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus telling "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV Thursday.

"It wasn't a mistake. This thing was not an accident."

The Huffington Post reported Dec. 1 that the administration insisted the government’s glitch-riddled website has improved and that enrollment is accelerating.

However, The Huffington Post reported Thursday that “unresolved technical problems on could lead to a rude surprise at the doctor's office next month for patients who think they successfully used the website to sign up for health insurance. They may find they're not insured after all.”

But while Obama, Press Secretary Jay Carney, White House officials and even First Lady Michelle Obama have attempted to blame Republicans for what numerous political pundits, news outlets and blog sites describe as the administration’s ongoing “failure to launch” its health care law, the onset of the Obamacare “death spiral” appears simply to be the inevitable fulfillment of a self-inflicted prophesy.

“If the Obamacare health insurance exchanges are to function properly,” David Hogberg, PhD explained in an August report for the National Center for Public Policy Research, “it is crucial that a substantial number of people ages 18-34 join them.”

This age group that is young and relatively healthy must purchase health insurance on the exchanges in order to "cross-subsidize" people who are older and sicker. Without the young and healthy, the exchanges will enter a "death spiral" where only the older and sicker participate, and price of insurance premiums will increase precipitously.

“In the exchanges,” John Healey explained for The Los Angeles Times Nov. 19, “younger, healthier people overpay into the system to subsidize older, sicker people.”

The law also imposes a tax on every policy issued (more precisely, it assesses a fee per person covered), then uses the money to subsidize insurers that attract a disproportionately risky group of customers. So everyone who carries insurance helps subsidize the costliest customers, with the young and healthy bearing the biggest part of that burden.

Simply put by Priebus Thursday, "Obamacare was intentionally designed to screw over young people so that young people pay for everyone else's stuff.”

As Real Clear Politics reported Wednesday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that, “over the next weeks and months, the White House as well as Democratic members of Congress and folks across the administration are going to be continuing to get the word out” to America’s younger citizens “about the opportunity to sign up for coverage, the benefits of signing up for coverage.”

"The focus,” Wasserman Schultz said, “needs to be on making sure that we can get young people who are often healthier into the pool so that it lowers the overall cost of health insurance.”

By reminding them that “they have an opportunity to stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26 years old,” and will have “access to preventive care like mammograms without a co-pay or deductible” and “birth control for free so they can plan their families in the way they want to,” Wasserman Schultz said “gradually you'll have millennials fully embrace the Affordable Care Act, and it's going to be really an incredible opportunity.”

However, as Patrice J. Lee noted for The Independent Women’s Forum Thursday: “As Americans see the costs of the family plans rise because of ObamaCare-prompted changes, they may elect not to keep their ‘adult children’ on their plans.”

Lee further noted that Obama “doesn’t address” the fact that – because “colleges and universities that are eliminating the basic healthcare plans because they can’t afford the rise in costs due to new ObamaCare requirements” – “students now find themselves out in the cold.”

But while The Daily Caller’s Patrick Howley suggested July 29 that the endeavor “appears to violate the federal Age Discrimination Act,” the Obama administration already initiated an effort to “target young people with a public-relations campaign on the benefits of enrolling in Obamacare” six months ago.

As The Huffington Post reported Aug. 19, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – in partnership with The Young Invincibles, a non-profit youth issues organization – even launched a video contest to inspire the youth to promote Obamacare to their fellow millennials.

But, according to the results of a poll released Wednesday by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics -- showing evidence of a growing Obamacare malaise among the youth -- that effort has failed.

More than half of 18- to 29-year-olds disapprove of Obamacare and believe it will raise their healthcare costs and less than one-third of those uninsured millennials surveyed said they plan to enroll in coverage.

Those under the age of 30 believe that the quality of their health care will get worse under the provisions of the law by a margin of more than two-to-one.

Despite the millennial malaise and the increasing unpopularity of the law among American adults, Real Clear Politics reported Wednesday that Wasserman Schultz told Priebus during Tuesday's broadcast of CNN's "Crossfire" that Democratic candidates will run on Obamacare in 2014 and it will be an "advantage" for them.

On Nov. 10, Wasserman Schultz told CNN’s “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley that “Democratic candidates will be able to run on Obamacare as an advantage leading into the 2014 election.”

Ironically -- as The Hill reported Feb. 18, 2011 -- it was Wasserman Schultz who denounced the word "Obamacare" as a "disparaging reference to the president of the United States" and endeavored to ban the use of the word on the House floor.

The Hill reported Oct. 6, 2011 that Obama was “embracing the term ‘Obamacare’ on the campaign stump, attempting to turn the tables on critics who use it in a derogatory way.”

As Examiner reported Nov. 20 – while Barack Obama insisted during the Oct. 3, 2012 debate with GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney that he had “become fond of the word” – Democrats and the president himself are now eliminating the word “Obamacare” from government websites, talking points and speeches.

Unfortunately, this effort to “rebrand” the health care law by avoiding “the O-word” has also failed to boost support.

“Regardless of the term used in describing the federal health reform package,” Harvard University’s Institute of Politics concluded from its survey, the majority of respondents said the “disapproved” of the health care law.

When the law was referred to as the Affordable Care Act, 39 percent of young Americans under 30 approved, 56 percent disapproved; and when the law was referred to as Obamacare, the numbers were nearly identical with 38 percent citing approval and 57 percent citing that they disapproved.

“Asked their opinion related to the Affordable Care Act,” 17 percent of Millennials surveyed said “they expect the quality of their care to improve, 44 percent say it will worsen.

When this question is asked to a similar group about Obamacare, the number who believe their care will get better is 18 percent, with 40 percent saying things will get worse.

“The White House appears to recognize the growing threat,” Elise Viebeck reported Wednesday for The Hill, “and is making outreach to younger people a major focus of its Obamacare relaunch.”

"The president began the effort on Wednesday with a youth summit at the White House where he urged audience members to spread the word about the new healthcare exchanges," an effort mocked by RNC National Youth Director Elliott Echols as nothing more than offering millennials a “seat at the kids’ table.”

“Millennials are seeing the negative impacts of Obama-Care, especially rising costs,” Echols said, “and the White House wants a distraction.”

Viebeck added that -- according to the Republican National Committee -- "the Harvard poll is evidence that millennials are 'abandoning' the president and his signature reform."

As Greg Richter of Newsmax reported Friday, Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity that Obama’s Thursday interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews before 300 students at American University in Washington, D.C. demonstrates that “the White House is clearly in ‘panic mode.’"

"He's looking for the most comfortable venue that will be most sympathetic to him," Bozell said.

Unfortunately, the Harvard University poll also found that 52 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 would vote to recall Obama.

On Friday, the Real Clear Politics average of eight national polls showed Obama’s approval rating at -15.4 percent.

The Real Clear Politics average of seven national polls showed approval of his health care law at -18.5 percent.

As Harvard Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson told Newsmax Wednesday, "millennials, which are the backbone of his support which helped to elect him and re-elect him, now look like the rest of the population when it comes to approval ratings."



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