Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, December 17, 2013
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday – like so many other polls released in the last few weeks – found that a majority of Millennials disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance as a result of the botched Healthcare.gov rollout. But the poll contained in it another, albeit it rather unexpected statistic as well – that young Americans aren’t as pessimistic about the implementation of Obamacare as they were just a month ago.
According to the poll, 50 percent of adults aged 18-39 now support the Affordable Care Act. In November, that number was just 38 percent. Opposition to the healthcare law also flipped in the past month, from 59 percent to 47 percent.
So what brought about this potential shift? One possible explanation is that many young adults aren’t quite convinced that the quality of their healthcare under the new law will change next year. After all, the ABC News/Washington Post study found that two-thirds of all young adults believe that their healthcare will stay the same come January.
Perhaps it’s because so few Millennials actually visit the doctor that often. Nearly four in ten adults between the ages of 18 and 24 do not visit a doctor on a regular basis, compared to just 8 percent of adults above the age of 65. Without the need to visit a doctor frequently, many of these “young invincibles” won’t notice that the quality of their healthcare has significantly dropped with the new regulations that the government has imposed on doctors.
Not needing to visit doctors regularly also hides the fact that many doctors have decided to no longer accept patients with certain healthcare plans. Because many Millennials only visit the doctor when they are sick, if having to find a new medical provider during an emergency isn’t enough of a wakeup call that the law is harmful to Americans it’s hard to say what exactly is. The same could be said for prescriptions as well.
It could also be that young adults are not privy to the increased deductibles and premiums that are coming under the Affordable Care Act because they don’t have to pay them – their parents do. A report by The Commonwealth Fund found that approximately 7.8 million adults between the ages of 18 and 25 remained on their parent’s healthcare plan in 2012. For many – including myself, before I turned 26 – the only healthcare bills they have to pay are copays for prescriptions and doctors appointments, thus sheltering them from the rising deductibles and premiums their parents are paying.
When the Healthcare.gov website originally crashed back in October, the White House and other Democrats attempted to claim that it was because Millennials are lazy and do things at the very last-minute possible, that they were just waiting for the bugs in the site to be fixed before they enrolled. Having the ability to sign up for healthcare under the exchanges is one thing, however – having the need for healthcare under the exchanges, however, is a completely different one. After all, many young adults who have to pay for their own health insurance have decided to pay the minimal penalty for not having coverage than buy into the system. It’s why in many states less than 50 percent of young Americans now without health insurance have yet to sign up for coverage.
President Obama’s White House Youth Summit and other public relations campaigns to assuage Millennials’ concerns about Obamacare may have convinced them to support the law now, but come January they’ll be singing a different tune – one that’s not going to sit well with Obama and his Democratic cronies in Washington.