Let’s really talk about Obamacare

OFA Healthcare for the Holidays

This month, I received an email with the subject line “How did the talk go?” After a moment of panic that I was supposed to have a serious talk with someone and hadn’t, I clicked to find an email from Organizing for Action. Addressing me as “Friend,” Organizing for Action wanted to check on me — making sure that I had found time to talk about health care with my friends and family over the holidays and asking me to report back on how the conversation went.

Not only did Organizing for Action launch a “Health Care for the Holidays” campaign with detailed instructions on how to have a talk with Millennials about enrolling in ObamaCare, but now it wants a status report on my progress?

ObamaCare supporters are sounding a little desperate to get Millennials on board for ObamaCare. And the latest enrollment numbers show why. A week ago, the Department of Health and Human Services released demographic data revealing that only 24 percent of those who signed up for an exchange before Dec. 28 were between the ages of 18 and 34. Only 24 percent.

But, according to a White House briefing, almost 40 percent of the seven million people officials hope will enroll in the first year must be between the ages of 18 and 35 for the marketplace exchanges to work properly. The system depends on younger, generally healthier people to bear more of the cost of coverage of older, generally sicker Americans.

Only two jurisdictions, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, had youth enrollment of greater than 30 percent, while Arizona, Maine and West Virginia have a particularly long way to go with only 17 percent of enrollees in this demographic.

On a conference call with reporters, Nancy Delew, the acting Health and Human Services secretary for planning and evaluation, said that the administration expects younger adults are just waiting until the end of the enrollment period to sign up.

Yet a recent poll suggests that young people aren’t just being lazy and putting off signing up for ObamaCare. According to a national poll conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, 57 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds disapprove of ObamaCare.

The Obama administration needs to linger on that for a moment: Young Americans disapprove of ObamaCare. And there is a good reason. Young Americans are being asked to pay too much for coverage that most won’t need. That’s a flaw that is difficult to hide, no matter how glitzy, high-tech or personal the marketing strategy.

But that doesn’t mean that the Obama administration is going to give up marketing to Millennials.

Next month, for example, the administration is buying ads to air during the Olympics and Feb. 15 has been deemed National Youth Enrollment Day. Last year, the administration tried recruiting the NFL to promote ObamaCare, convened a meeting at the White House of celebrities to recruit them to sell ObamaCare and even convinced People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” to tweet about enrolling.

Young people don’t just need to be marketed to more. They should reject these overtures.

The White House ought to take a break from talking to Millennials about the supposed benefits ObamaCare and instead do a little listening. Officials will likely hear the many reasons why young Americans are rejecting the government program. Millennials, for example, are wrestling with high levels of unemployment and underemployment. And they resent being stuck with increased premiums.

Perhaps that’s the conversation I should report back to Organizing for Action. The group may not want to hear it, but it’s what many Millennials are actually saying about ObamaCare.

Comments

Polititainment

Billy Joel smoked with Obama

According to one of The Hill's sources, Obama invited Billy Joel to have a cigarette with him when the musician made a recent trip to the White House.

Beckham's catch = Obama's executive act

You know it is.

'SNL' remakes Schoolhouse Rock
“Saturday Night Live” hit today’s political process right on the nose during the show’s cold open. Spoofing Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill,” Kenan Thompson as the bill tried to explain how he becomes a law. But before he can make his way  to President Obama’s desk to be officially signed into law, Obama beats him […]
Foxx talks dancing with Christie, McCain
Who could possibly forget this epic photo? Late night host Jimmy Kimmel certainly hadn’t, so when he had the chance to interview actor Jamie Foxx Wednesday night, he simply had to get the back story. Foxx has been the host of this annual charity event for several years. “What’s interesting is that every year that […]
Jon Stewart on Christie's 'pig problem'

Jon Stewart got into Chris Christie’s “pig problem”—which wasn’t quite what Stewart thought it was at first.

White House

Poll: Americans split on Obama’s immigration order
Americans are sharply split on their reaction to President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration that will essentially give amnesty to about five million undocumented immigrants,according to a new poll. The latest Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday found that 45 percent of voters support the president’s move, while 48 percent opposes it. Support for […]
Eric Holder stresses that federal investigations in Ferguson are not over

Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement Monday night assuring rioters that the Justice Department still has two investigations to complete in Ferguson.

Obama appeals for calm after Ferguson decision

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama appealed for calm and understanding in Ferguson on Monday after a grand jury decided not to indict in the death of Michael Brown, pleading with both residents and police officers to show restraint.

Obama defends his flip-flop on immigration executive action
President Obama may have denounced the very executive action on immigration he ended up taking  more than 20 times in his presidency, but that’s not stopping him from ardently defending his actions. Obama appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and host George Stephanopoulos grilled the president about his the contradictions in his words and actions. “You […]
Obama: Voters want ‘new car smell’ in 2016, Hillary would be ‘great president’
President Obama still has two years left in office, but with the GOP overhaul in the midterms and his waning popularity, most people are already looking to 2016. Including, it seems, Obama himself. He said the best part of running for president after a two-term president is that “you can stake out your own positions” […]

Congress

Rand blames 'politicians,' drug war in Ferguson

Sen. Rand Paul’s Time op-ed on Ferguson Tuesday blamed politicians for creating “a culture of violence” through the War on Drugs, and urged Ferguson protesters to “channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.”

Why are House Members exempt from ethics training?
Two U.S. representatives are questioning a curious practice on the Hill that exempts House Members from ethics training. But it doesn’t look like they are getting much support from their colleagues that enjoy this perk. Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and Scott Rigell (R-Va.), are urging congressional leaders to end the House exemption on the annual ethics […]
Paul calls for formal declaration of war on ISIS

Sen. Rand Paul wants Congress to formally declare war against ISIS.

The fallout from Boehner not owning a dog

President Obama's offer to smooth over an immigration reform compromise with Speaker John Boehner has turned out to be a case of barking up the nonexistent tree.

Sen. Graham: Benghazi report 'full of crap'
Despite a new House Intelligence Committee report clearing the Obama administration of wrongdoing in its response to the Benghazi attack, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is not backing down. “I think the report is full of crap,” Graham said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He said that the report did not take into account the members […]