Virtual Voices
Young Invincibles

Please be my Obamacare valentine

Healthcare

First they enlisted celebrities. Then they went for your parents. Then they signed up your mom. They edged into Thanksgiving and Christmas. They cozied up to your pets. If you haven’t registered for Obamacare by now, the administration may try subliminal messaging devices in your pillow, iPhone, and widescreen TV.

That is, if you’re 36 years old or younger, the key demographic needed for the Affordable Care Act to theoretically work. Feb. 15 is National Youth Enrollment Day, when Healthy Engaged Youth (or HEY!) Ambassadors will be hosting events on college campuses and throughout local communities. HEYs are being asked to sponsor workshops, create videos, stage panel discussions, make posters, write songs—“the possibilities are endless.” A major player in this event is Young Invincibles, once a label used in the healthcare sector to refer to 18-29 year-olds who don’t have insurance because they don’t think they need it. (And generally, they don’t.) Now it’s an actual organization of “youth” that seems to have been brought into being to push Obamacare so that young people can be insured. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but neither do rapping pets and nagging parents. National Youth Enrollment Day has also enlisted celebrities to star in a series of Valentine’s Day postcards, including “Sexiest Man” Adam Levine, exhibitionist Lady Gaga, and Jason “Talk dirty to me” Derulo.

This is dumb, sad, and uncool, but it’s also deeply cynical. The ruinous effects of this “healthcare” behemoth on the future prospects of young America could be deduced by common sense alone, but analysis based on the law itself shows that 1) a greater share of the cost for medical services will be borne by those who need them least; 2) most students lose low-cost coverage under their college plans because most of those plans include annual limits, which the Obamacare forbids; 3) college costs will rise due to the government takeover of student loans (did you know that was part of Obamacare?); and 4) millennials will be stuck with the bill for higher medical costs, higher premiums, and the crushing national debt.

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This administration has always spoken as if its main challenge was one of messaging, not policy. If they can only get the word out in a way that appeals to America, the sun will shine, amity will reign, and our nation will enter a golden age of peace and personal fulfillment. Do they really believe this? Or have they entered the “say anything” stage of their relationship with the public? Polling shows that young people are experiencing some disenchantment and it’s unlikely that valentines from Adam Levine will woo them to sign up in droves on Youth Enrollment Day. Whether they do or not, this administration won’t respect them in the morning. They don’t respect them now.

Janie B. Cheaney
Janie B. Cheaney

Janie lives in Missouri, is a columnist for WORLD, writes novels for young adults, and is the author of the Wordsmith creative writing series. She also reviews books at RedeemedReader.com. Follow Janie on Twitter @jbcheaney.

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