In a piece at Salon, Brian Beutler encourages uninsured young people to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act when it becomes available Oct. 1. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, since “young people are typically healthy,” Beutler recounts how, when he got shot, his recently acquired health insurance saved him from a lifetime of debt.
Right now, a number of conservative groups, with financial backing from well-heeled fellow travelers like Charles and David Koch, are engaged in a campaign to convince young, uninsured people not to enroll in Obamacare — to remain uninsured rather than enter and strengthen the state-based health insurance markets the Affordable Care Act is building. …
My story underscores the moral failings of the people attempting to persuade strangers to assume a risk like uninsurance for the sake of their own dubious principles.
The point is that I’d just enrolled in insurance I never thought I’d need, and then unexpectedly needed it — badly — just a few days later. It cost me about $100 — about the amount millions of young people will be asked to pay out of pocket under Obamacare. Two-thousand-to-1 is a pretty good payout.
If I’d been uninsured at the time, I might have had a few meliorative financial options. I’m fortunate enough to have parents who could have cushioned the blow, though not without considerable hardship. Maybe I could have split my debts between them and the hospital. What I couldn’t have done is applied for insurance from my bed in the recovery ward and asked Blue Cross to pay for my surgery post hoc. That’s as it should be. Insurance doesn’t work if it’s structured as a bailout system for free riders. Yet one thing these conservatives are telling young people is that Obamacare will be different. Because it guarantees that people with preexisting medical conditions can buy insurance, they claim opting out carries no risk. Get sick or injured? Then you can reconsider your decision to opt out.
Read Brian Beutler’s entire piece at Salon.
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