Feb
21
2014

Colorado young people discovering that thousands > hundreds. #obamacare #mandate

Forgive me for saying this, but: I told you so.

A note, and a clarification on this Denver Post piece:

Matt Leising spends about $3,600 a year on medication to treat asthma and sinus problems, so he was supportive when Washington politicians were debating the Affordable Care Act.

After the law passed and then began rolling out last fall, Leising went to Colorado’s health care exchange website to look for coverage, but the 29-year-old Littleton resident quickly realized he couldn’t afford any of the plans.

The lowest monthly premium was $175, but the deductible was $10,000, meaning he would still have to pay for his medication and other expenses. He decided to just pay for his medication out of pocket and take the $95 tax penalty for a single person.

The clarification: the Denver Post isn’t exactly familiar with the tax penalty. $95 is a minimum. Matt Leising would have to pay the higher $95 or 1% of his income above $10K in taxes. Assuming that a ‘manager of a small business that doesn’t provide health insurance’ makes about $40K a year (a guess), that means that he will be paying about $300 a year in tax.

And that goes to the point: $300/year is still considerably less than $2,100/year, which is what Leising would be paying for a policy that is effectively useless to him.  Which Leising knows perfectly well – he may or may not know that he has to pay more than $95 right now, but the differential is not going to be enough to convince the man to buy a useless policy.  And the only way to get him to do that?  Well, the Denver Posts quotes small business owner Sarah Hardin later on in the story: “Hardin said the only way she and her husband would buy health insurance is if the federal tax penalty is more than the annual costs of the policy.”

And there is the rub. The system was designed under two assumptions: one, that people would go Full Metal Big Green Guy if a mandate with any kind of teeth was installed*; and two, that young people can’t do math.  The first assumption was warranted, I think – but the second one was not, as anybody who can remember his or her first paycheck can attest.  It’s downright amazing how fast you remember that stuff from school when you’re trying to figure out on the fly whether they really meant to take that much out of your pay…

But I digress. The bottom line is, as Aaron Gardner put it:

…wishful thinking. Obamacare is not going to work the way that the Democrats thought Obamacare was going to work.  And if you’re thinking that this observation of mine sounds familiar, that’s because it is.  I was saying that young people wouldn’t want to sign up even before Obamacare took effect; the Obama administration just declined to listen.  Guess the joke’s on me for not going to Harvard, huh?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*President Obama might have tried to impose a higher mandate anyway – after all, he’s not running for anything, ever again – except that while the President can apparently get away with forgiving a tax in today’s climate, there’s no possible way he can get away with imposing one without the agreement of Congress.

7 Comments

  • Subotai Bahadur says:

    *President Obama might have tried to impose a higher mandate anyway – after all, he’s not running for anything, ever again – except that while the President can apparently get away with forgiving a tax in today’s climate, there’s no possible way he can get away with imposing one without the agreement of Congress.

    In normal times, I would agree about the impossibility. However; we are in a time when we have not had a constitutional budget for 5+ years, where the president rules by press release decree [not even an Executive Order] to modify statutes at will, especially Obamacare, where the Congress just passed a new concept of Debt Ceiling where in all that is limited is how long they can borrow/print money at will, but not how much money they can borrow or create through the Federal Reserve, and now the FCC is claiming the power [without a vote of the actual Commission] to place monitors in all broadcast and print newsrooms to make sure that coverage is “unbiased” and meets the Federal definition of “Critical Information Needs”. I note that the MSM is apparently more than happy having Federal Zampoliti on site.

    http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/02/20/fcc-monitors-your-news-komrade/

    With the backing of every Democrat in Congress, the media, and no surety of any resistance by any but the TEA Party; I am not sure that it would not be tried, and I am no longer sure that it would fail.

    YMMV

    Subotai Bahadur

  • 1_rick says:

    “he will be paying about $300 a year in tax.”

    This year. Remember, the penalty goes up every year (up 1%/year until it hits 3%, I think.)

  • 1_rick says:

    ” as anybody who can remember his or her first paycheck can attest. It’s downright amazing how fast you remember that stuff from school when you’re trying to figure out on the fly whether they really meant to take that much out of your pay…”

    Absolutely! Remember last year, when people noticed that their taxes all went up and took to Twitter to ask King Barack why that happened?

  • Skip says:

    “…and two, that young people can’t do math.”
    .
    To be fair to them, most young people are Democrats, and basic arithmetic is clearly beyond the typical Democratic politician, so it’s understandable that they’d make that mistake.

  • Lady Penguin says:

    Wondered how long it would take for folks to figure out that buying Obamacare “insurance” would be almost totally, if not completely, useless to them. This guy (and millions of others) are discovering that they’re expected to buy something which gives them nothing in return, and 2) the people that the Democrats expected to financially support this monstrosity with their hard-earned dollars, are not that stupid.

    Read a pro-Obamacare article yesterday touting the numbers of the middle-aged who are signing up for Obamacare, but the fine print revealed that they’re the ones who have been out of work for several years because of the Obama economy and have little income, so they’re getting highly subsidized policies. Eventually they’ll discover how low-standard that wonderful Obamacare policy actually is.

  • BigFire says:

    Moe, have no fear. God Emperor Obama have a phone and a pen. Mere constitution won’t deter him from doing that’s right in his heart.

  • 1_rick says:

    Further, I keep hearing stuff like this: “The lowest monthly premium was $175, but the deductible was $10,000, meaning he would still have to pay for his medication and other expenses.”

    What the heck kind of plans are these? I’ve never seen a regular insurance plan where your prescription costs are part of your deductible. In my experience the deductible covers things like surgery, and maybe some less-common procedures, like an MRI (although I’ve never had an MRI that had anything other than a copay.)

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