Will Young People Jeopardize the Success of Obamacare?

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When the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act was under debate in the Supreme Court last year, Justice Samuel Alito highlighted a problem with Obamacare that could ultimately jeopardize the entire viability of the system of insurance exchanges. He pointed out that young, healthy adults currently spend an average of $854 a year on healthcare. However, Obamacare would require them to purchase insurance policies expected to cost roughly $5,800. These added costs do not stem from additional “services that they are going to consume,” he stated. “The mandate is forcing these people to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies . . . to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.”

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These young, healthy adults are “exactly the type of person insurance plans, states and the federal government are counting on to make health reform work,” as the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month. But, since young people will be required to enormously increase their healthcare outlays, the challenge for the successful implementation of the new exchanges is enticing healthly, cheap-to-insure adults to sign up for Obamacare; their participation is critical to balance out older, sicker patients more likely to sign up for health insurance as soon as possible and receive subsidies.

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