A big story in a rather quiet news week was that a conservative group called FreedomWorks is encouraging young people to not sign up for the Affordable Care Act’s health exchanges. Their reasoning seems to be that the exchanges really will work because young, healthy people will sign up, bringing the cost down for everyone and allowing more people to be able to get health insurance. So they’re encouraging them to not sign up and pay the penalty. Ha! Ha! Wouldn’t it be funny if a bunch of young adults did that? They wouldn’t have any health insurance at all! That’s...just...so...
Way to stick it to The Man, kids!
Except the thing is, they’re not just sticking it to The Man. They’re sticking it to themselves. As Jonathan Cohn’s brief article states, you don’t just get to sign up for insurance when you get sick; there are open enrollment periods (just like in every other employer-based health plan in which I’ve participated), and if you happen to get seriously ill or hit by a car or bitten by a monitor lizard, or any of a number of bad things that can happen out there in the great big scary world, and it happens to be in a non-enrollment period, you’re shit outta luck, my friend. You will be stuck with one mofo of a hospital bill, and although most places will try to work with you, they WILL come after you and try to get you to pay. You think your college loans are bad? Try dealing with a hospital bill with three or four—or even five—zeroes after a 6 or an 8 or whatever.
It’s bad enough that there are people out there who are trying to convince young adults to go against their best interests. I mean, seriously...who doesn’t want the security of health insurance? When I was a young adult, I had the usual false feelings of invincibility that most young adults do; I felt like I had my whole life ahead of me and nothing really bad could happen to me. Even so, I never even considered going without health insurance. My husband at the time was in the military, so I got everything free of charge there. (Can you believe that damn government giving me free health care like that?!) When we divorced, I immediately got on the plan offered by the hospital where I was working.
The thought of being without health insurance terrifies me. I saw firsthand over the course of my career how high medical costs are, and how a normally healthy person can be devastated by an unexpected illness. Heart attack, stroke, disseminated intravascular coagulation, a broken leg that throws a clot to your lungs and causes a pulmonary embolism, a disseminated fungal infection in a guy that went out hunting...the list is endless! I don’t live my life in a state of paranoia, but I DO understand that all these things can happen, and often do. Why on earth would anyone be foolish enough to not accept reasonably priced health insurance if it were made available to them?
So it’s bad enough that these FreedomWorks yahoos are encouraging young adults to do just that. What is even more horrible to me is that there are kids that are actually falling for it. I honestly don’t know what they’re thinking, except...well, they probably aren’t thinking. They’re not reasoning it through. They are letting themselves be duped by these special interest groups who are operating on a political agenda. Groups who think that it is a bad thing to have more Americans having the security of health insurance. What kind of a heartless bastard actually thinks that? I’d really like to know.
To those kids who are burning their bogus “Obamacare draft cards”: You aren’t sticking it to The Man.
The Lobbyist Man is sticking it to you.