The “Unanticipated” Consequences of Obamacare

February 10th, 2014

Originally posted at The Daily Caller

Stop the presses! Obamacare is going to be trillions more expensive than originally projected and will destroy millions of jobs? That’s what last week’s report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) declares, coupled with some almost humorous commentary about how these results were “unanticipated.” As the CBO states in making projections through 2017, “Reduced incentives to work attributable to the Affordable Care Act – with most of the impact arising from new subsidies for health insurance purchased through the exchanges – will have a larger negative effect on (labor force) participation toward the end of that period.”

This was far from the only observation the CBO made about Obamacare – but it’s the most important one philosophically. It begs the question, what kind of country are we leaving to American youth? One that encourages hard work as a prerequisite for fulfilling boundless potential? Or a nation where we’re artificially “free” from obligation through regulations that discourage wealth creation and social mobility? Unfortunately, Obamacare is promoting the latter. Even worse, there are people defending the outcome.

The New York Times’ editorial board didn’t try to spin the truth of how severely Obamacare is impacting job growth, but rather chose to celebrate the alleged positivity of elevating government handouts over employment. In their own words, “The Congressional Budget Office estimated on Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of full-time workers by 2.5 million over the next decade. That is mostly a good thing, a liberating result of the law.”

Apparently, liberation doesn’t mean freedom from a government that limits one’s ability to enhance their well-being. Instead, “liberation” is a luxury afforded to some, while others subsidize the programs they depend on. This is not an outlook steeped in long-term sustainability. It’s actually a disturbing indication of the fact that there are Americans willing to trade the incentives that encourage social mobility for government-induced mediocrity that has the net effect of dragging the entire economy down.

Physician and scholar Scott Gottlieb put it well when he said, “The old employer sponsored system forced people to stay in jobs they didn’t like because they needed the health insurance coverage. The new Obamacare system will force people to stay out of jobs they do want because they need to maximize their subsidies. And this is social progress?” A crucial inquiry indeed.

Most advocates of a free-market health care system recognize the problems with insurance being tied to employment and care being tied to insurance. Portable, affordable plans tailored to meet the needs of consumers are what’s desperately required, but they have been banned by Obamacare. Moreover, health insurance should specifically be geared toward coverage for catastrophic events – not utilized to pay for basic care.

This is the route young people who have chosen to opt out of Obamacare are taking. Whether they sign up for a short-term plan or purchase any one of the many of private options still available, it’s wholly possible to reject Obamacare and act responsibly. Ultimately, the better understanding consumers have of actual health care costs, the morecompetition will bring prices down. These concepts are simple – but they seem to evade politicians who refuse to acknowledge the value of policies that shift power out of their orbit and back toward the people.

Indicative of that problem, Obamacare has exasperated what was wrong with the health care market prior to its enactment. Instead of creating more choice, it has restricted doctor options. Instead of making health care more affordable, it has disproportionately burdened the middle class. Instead of increasing options, it has banned millions of plans. Instead of “freeing” young people, it has pushed several trillion dollars more in government debt on our shoulders. Instead of reining in corporate excess, it has guaranteed insurance companies bailouts.

Nothing about Obamacare represents a “step in the right direction,” unless one believes the government is a self-sustaining entity upon which everyone can depend without contributing. That outlook has collapsed many an economy and been the catalyst for vast social unrest. We’ve already seen problems of this nature in countries like Spain andGreece recently.

The United States must avoid going down the same path and ultimately handing young Americans a country where instead of pursuing our dreams, we’re forced to pay for the mistakes of those who thought mortgaging our futures for their personal gain was acceptable. In these trying times, it would be wise to heed the words of French philosopher Frédéric Bastiat:  ”Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.”

State of the Youth

January 29th, 2014

Originally posted at The Daily Caller

Enduring the pomp and circumstance of the State of the Union can be an ordeal in and of itself. For those of us inherently skeptical of the president being presented in too king-like a fashion, Barack Obama’s latest exhibition did nothing to moderate our doubts. In fact, we were fed a vision of the president as supreme legislator, in which a compliant Congress enacts his schemes or is cut out of the governing process. In the second year of his final term, as his signature legislation unravels before the nation’s eyes, it appears that Barack Obama cannot abide the divided government the American people intentionally installed. And so we contend with his agenda.

When one listens to Barack Obama, it’s hard to dismiss the unsettling feeling that he believes government is the economy. That any cut to federal spending chips away at growth potential. That progress is achieved through “investments” made by politicians with assets they stole from us. Surely, without the benign hand of government directing our resources toward commitments it deems laudable, we peasants would drown in a sea of decentralized incompetence. You and I cannot be trusted with the fruits of our own labor, lest the bureaucratic machine miss an opportunity to regulate more of our voluntary interactions with one another.

Naturally, it’s terrifying to think that the leader of the free world could even hint at subscribing to such an authoritarian outlook. It is especially troublesome for those of us under thirty, who will bear the consequences of policies crafted under this vision. We are already inordinately burdened by a government keen to enact new “youth jobs training programs,” but never considers reforming the regulatory regime that strangles would-be Millennial entrepreneurs. Just so, Obama’s address doubled down on the debt-fueled policies that have contributed to the 15.9 percent unemployment rate 18-29 year olds currently face.

The manner in which the President chose to discuss issues like the minimum wage, Obamacare, and income inequality clearly demonstrates his inability to see solutions implemented outside of Washington as viable. His command-and-control approach is tiresome to young people who have heard this rhetoric before, yet feel disempowered due to the lackluster economic results it yields. Ultimately, words don’t create jobs, and results do matter more than intentions.

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The Obamacare Enrollment Campaign’s Fuzzy Millennial Math

January 23rd, 2014

Originally posted at The Daily Caller

You’d better keep a close eye on your wallet this month, because the government’s spinmasters and money-grabbers are out in full force. They’re working to simultaneously placate and extort an Obamacare-weary public in the wake of dismal signup numbers.

But fear not, citizen! All you need to know about the demographics of Obamacare enrollment is that everything is fine, and there’s nothing to see here. Except that it’s unclear how many people have actually paid their premiums, 3.9 million people have been added to the already troubled Medicaid rolls, and only 21 percent of enrollees are paying their premiums in full without government assistance. Oh, and there’s the pesky little fact that more people have had the insurance they liked banned by Obamacare than signed up through the exchanges — by a figure of 2.5 million. But no big deal, right? Just ignore all of the lies used to sell Obamacare, and trust that politicians and their cronies have your best interests at heart. Ah, if only life were that simple. Here in the real world, the economic and social costs of Obamacare cannot simply be written off.

As this chart from CNN shows, only 24 percent of the 2.2 million Obamacare enrollees are between the ages of 18 and 34. What remains unclear is how many 18-25 year olds were added as dependents to family plans — thus contributing less in premiums than their peers who purchased individual coverage. And even if you assume everyone in that 24 percent bought a plan on their own, it’s important to remember that the White House originally had a goal of wrangling 2.7 million people in that age bracket – ostensibly to offset the costs of the sicker Americans who would surely sign up due to guaranteed issue.

At this juncture, they’ve only managed to bait about 648,000 into the Obamacare trap; some of whom are dependent “adult children.” So naturally, they’re hoping to lure more of us with desperate gimmicks like Youth Enrollment Day. This post-Valentines Day extravaganza – during which we can only hope we’re spared frantic “free” birth control pitches — is expected to consist of the White House partnering with their resident Millennial mouthpieces at Young Invincibles – the group that’s taking shady Obamacare math to newly disingenuous heights. In response to this data, Young Invincibles stated that 30 percent of new enrollees are under 35. Their implication is that all 660,000 of the people between the ages of 0 and 34 counted in the new enrollment statistics purchased their own individual plans – a claim that’s simply inaccurate.

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Corie Whalen on Your World With Neil Cavuto

December 18th, 2013


On December 18th, I appeared on Fox News to discuss why young people are opting out of Obamacare on behalf of Generation Opportunity. Thanks to the Daily Caller for the footage, and their story about the segment.

 

Corie Whalen on the Sean Hannity Show

November 22nd, 2013


On November 22nd, I appeared on a special studio audience edition of the Sean Hannity Show, featuring a panel of millennials. We tackled various issues, and I discussed how support for Obamacare cratered among young people after the exchanges were launched.

The second portion of the segment can be watched here.

If You Like Your Plan, You Can Blame Someone Else

November 14th, 2013

On November 14th, the President of the United States went on national television and berated insurance companies for enforcing Obamacare as written. It has become politically inconvenient for Democrats who have to contend with reelection next year, that millions of Americans have had their insurance policies banned by Obamacare, despite the President’s oft repeated promise to the contrary.

Once again elevating politics over economic and logistical reality, King Obama decreed that insurance companies can suddenly UN-cancel the banned plans (even though Obamacare hasn’t been legislatively amended) and re-sell them. How dictatorial! But, there’s a catch. Insurers will only be allowed do this through 2015 – and don’t even know how it can be achieved. What company in their right mind would suddenly expend resources to sell in a market they’ve explicitly been told is illegal? Oh, right. None. Which is why Obama made the statement he did.

The President went into his press conference fully aware that his purpose was to deflect blame and solve approximately zero problems. After all, the banning of low-cost catastrophic plans to induce stealth redistribution is the point Obamacare. To its advocates, replacing actual insurance that calculates for risk with expensive plans that contain unnecessary mandates is a feature, not a bug. Anyone pretending otherwise either doesn’t understand how Obamacare is supposed to work (and therefore shouldn’t have advocated for it), or is being intentionally dishonest in their sudden outrage.

Ultimately, the sad display we saw from the President on Thursday constitutes a desperate attempt to shift responsibility for the unmitigated disaster that is Obamacare away from politicians who knowingly lied to defend him as they face the wrath of their constituents. Conveniently, the new 2015 deadline for banning the insurance plans millions liked and depended on should be just enough time to give red and swing state Democratic Senators like Pryor (AR), Landrieu (LA), Hagan (NC), and Begich (AK) political cover – not to mention all of their colleagues in the House.

Keep in mind through all of this though, that the insurance companies certainly aren’t victims in this schadenfreude. They have been willing participants in a corporatist redistribution scheme that they stood to profit from through coercive plunder enacted by government fiat. What’s that saying about laying down with dogs and getting fleas? Congratulations, insurance companies. You’re getting the PR treatment you should have expected, and frankly, deserve.

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Do You Got Insurance, Bro?

November 13th, 2013

Originally posted at Generation Opportunity

Good news, bros and hos!  There’s a new ad campaign geared toward fulfilling your wildest government-funded fantasies! At the grammatically challenged DoYouGotInsurance.com, you can browse through a compelling selection of hard hitting pro-Obamacare ads, just like the classy and clearly not condescending one below.


This, ladies and gentlemen, is the level Obamacare advocates have stooped to. They know that millennials are opting out of the expensive, creepy Obamacare exchanges in droves, and their desperation is showing. As a woman in her twenties, I can’t imagine this message resonating with any sane female, regardless of her political views. I’m sorry, but there is no young lady on earth who says to herself, “Wow, if only the government made me pay more for insurance before, I could’ve had access to ‘free’ birth control and fulfilled my dream of getting with a bunch of tequila-shot-wielding-bros!” Also, the use of the term “hot to trot” in the ad? Really? Disparagingly treating women like sex objects and encouraging government dependency? So totally empowering! Or something ….

I have to imagine that you won’t be seeing these sophisticated purveyors of “brosurance” make ads about recent news that Obamacare has actually banned the affordable insurance plans of over 3.5 million Americans and counting. After all, that’s a pretty devastating statistic considering only 50,000 people have allegedly signed up through the exchanges. But wait, there’s more! The official number we expect the White House to release soon will count individuals who have merely kept a plan in their online shopping cart. Yes, seriously. HealthCare.gov wasn’t operational when I tried out of curiosity to see if I could get a quote. If I had saved a plan to review later, the government would consider me enrolled in Obamacare? Really? Earth to the White House: Attempted research on a dysfunctional website doesn’t constitute someone purchasing your sub-par, corporatist product. After all, there are better options for insurance procurement – especially if you’re a young person.

Oh and additionally, as if the aforementioned ad that implies females are the are brain-dead sums of our lady parts isn’t bad enough, there’s this:

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Millennials Should Exempt Themselves and Opt Out of Obamacare

October 10th, 2013

Originally posted at Policy Mic

At Generation Opportunity, we’re flattered that PolicyMic writer Stephen Calabria was so taken with our Opt Out of Obamacare campaign, that he decided to showcase our work on Capitol Hill. According to a piece published at this website by the aforementioned author, he asked 41 House members if they had seen our pair of ads (which garnered over 3 million views combined on YouTube in a little over two weeks). The conclusion Calabria draws is that because 24 Republican politicians either hadn’t seen our ads or had no particular opinion on them, that our campaign has been ineffective. What Mr. Calabria seemingly fails to recognize is that the last thing we’re seeking is approval from elected officials. After all, politicians don’t need to opt out of Obamacare – they already get a special exemption, and so do their staffers.

But the rest of us – particularly Millennials, who are hardest hit by Obamacare, have been offered no such exemption. We have to take it upon ourselves to opt out of the program and find better coverage options, precisely what Generation Opportunity’s campaign is promoting. In fact, we’ve already received nearly 200 requests for our free Opt Out Kit from young people across the nation, with new applications rolling in daily. These people are students eager to educate their peers about their options in the wake of Obamacare’s attempt to siphon off more of our meager resources to further subsidize older, richer Americans. Generation Opportunity has also been on the ground at college campuses throughout the country, and we’re proudly partnering with grassroots activists who understand that one-size-fits-all “fixes” sent down from Capitol Hill aren’t doing young people any favors.

We aren’t particularly interested in what politicians think about our campaign, but we’d actually like to thank Mr. Calabria for coaxing Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.) into making Generation Opportunity’s point for us. In response to an inquiry about our Opt Out project, the congressman stated, “That’s the worst thing that I’ve heard of in this thing. I don’t think it’s sensible. I hope young people reject that notion, because we need young people in the health plan to help balance out all the seniors that use health [insurance], as we all know, more than other people.”

We appreciate that instructive moment of clarity, because Conyers, who voted for Obamacare, fully admits what most of his colleagues won’t: that Obamacare isn’t designed to provide affordable health care to the young and uninsured. The law is actually crafted to treata generation with diminished economic prospects like cash cows when we’re at our financially leanest. The worst part is, it won’t even pay off for us in the long run, because unlike true insurance, it doesn’t calculate for our risk — and certainly won’t reward us if we’ve made smart health decisions that should reduce our costs.

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The Government’s War on Youth

August 12th, 2013

Originally posted at Policy Mic

If you listen to certain pundits and politicians, you’ll hear there’s an economic recovery afoot. You can look at the stock market, analyze Federal Reserve policies, and debate what the various outcomes amount to. But if you’re a young person, it matters very little that some Keynesian economist talking head claims even more government spending will ease your under-employment woes. Sadly, the cold hard facts — and your $148,000 share of the national debt — tell a different story.

A recent study from Gallup shows that for the month of June, the number of 18-29 year olds holding full-time jobs has dropped to a fouryear low. Currently, only 43.6% of millennials are employed in a full-time capacity. And even if you do have a full or part-time job, watch out, because Obamacare implementation is leading to severe cuts in worker hours – a reason to anticipate the aforementioned 43.6% will continue falling.

When you pair this bad news with data that shows only 48% of college graduates hold jobs that require their degree, that the average student graduates with $35,200 in student loan related debt, and the fact that effective youth unemployment rate is 16.1%, it’s clear that esoteric discussions about economic recovery aren’t producing results for Americans under 30.

The problem for millennials is that, unfortunately, the federal government has crafted a system built on generational theft, and it just so happens that 18-29 year olds are situated right in the eye of the storm. As Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy explained at Reason Magazine: “Social Security and Medicare, which provide retirement and health insurance benefits for senior Americans, generally without regard to need, are funded by taxes on the relatively meager wages of younger Americans who will never enjoy anything close to the same benefits. The demographic math is irrefutable: Entitlements are killing the safety net.”

Welcome to the consequences of fiscally unsound decisions made for short-term political gain, young Americans! While you can’t change the past, you’re certainly empowered to reject current government schemes starting with hiding your wallets when Obamacare promotional groups come to your town looking for more of what little money you have.

To make a program function that even Howard Dean, (former head of the Democratic National Committee) admits won’t control health care costs, the government needs 2.7 million young people to pay more for insurance premiums than what’s personally necessary for them, with no return on the investment.

Sadly, this scheme is just the latest shot fired in the government’s long-standing war on youth. Millennials are inheriting an exponentially growing $17 trillion national debt, not to mention troubled Social Security and Medicare programs that by their own trustees’ projections will be insolvent by 2033 and 2026, respectively.

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Student Loan Deal is a Slap in Millennials’ Faces

July 25th, 2013

Originally posted at Policy Mic

As deal-making over the interest rates of federally subsidized student loans finally begins to subside, politicians are making a lot of noise, but avoiding discussion of the fundamental problem. Arguing over what amounts to less than $10 per month while promoting policies that incentivize overall higher debt burdens for college students seems ridiculous — which is precisely why you don’t hear politicians admit that’s what they’re actually doing.

This political theater in Washington represents the latest manufactured crisis that yields finger-pointing rather than good policy. In an increasingly dysfunctional fashion, politicians wait until the last minute to address crucial issues, despite full knowledge of impending deadlines. Then, when said deadlines pass and allegedly Armageddon-style consequences occur, the rush to “fix” the problem creates — you guessed it — more problems.

In the student loan debate, both Republicans and Democrats are equally culpable. Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, employing strikingly pro-government-takeover rhetoric, launched a #DontDoubleMyRate campaign, aimed at blaming Democrats in the Senate for failing to pass legislation to address the automatic rate increase from 3.4% to 6.8%. While Boehner is correct to point out that the Senate did not take action when it should have, his posturing puts Republicans on the side of defending more intervention in the already government-monopolized student loan market.

Amidst theatrics in which both sides claim to be advocates for students, the reality is, neither Republicans nor Democrats are doing young people any favors. The deal that the Senate has reached retroactively sets rates through the 2015 academic year at 3.86%, and puts a future cap on undergraduate rates at 8.25%.

But none of this addresses the fact that the cost of college tuition has skyrocketed, even though the explanation as to why isn’t complicated. When politicians decided that promoting access to a college education was a worthy goal — which it is — they worked to institute the federal loan programs that would provide artificially low interest rates.

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