Absurd stunt to keep young from health care

“Burn, Baby, Burn!” Mad Magazine poster, circa 1971

Burn, baby burn.

FreedomWorks, a national group funded by the Koch brothers which has supported Tea Party groups, has a stunt it’s hoping to roll out on college campuses.

They want young people to burn their “Obamacards” and to refuse to get health insurance for themselves.

Besides the fact that are no actual Obamacards that will be issued — so instead they want people to print one out from a website and then burn it — there are real problems with this.

The biggest problem: Young people who could have had insurance won’t have it.

Under Obamacare, these folks could get insurance. They’d very likely get help to buy it, through a subsidy.

According to the Kaiser Foundation subsidy calculator, a single person making $20,000 a year would pay $1,021 for a plan (at the Silver level) or $505 for a less generous plan (at the Bronze level).

Depending on where one lives and one’s income (and whether one smokes), the cost will vary.

Those subsidies significantly lower a young adult’s premiums: California officials, for example, estimate that a 21-year-old who earns $17,235 will be able to purchase coverage for as little as $5 per month. [source]

Some of these folks will get sick or get into an accident.

Imagine a young woman or man who ends up in the hospital with lots of broken bones and internal injuries. He or she will incur a great deal of costs and will have lots down the road, for surgeries and physical therapy.

The result is that she or he will be on the hook for those costs and will spend many years paying them. Or, if she or he can’t pay for them, the rest of us will.

But the group that tells them not to buy insurance isn’t concerned about those medical bills.

Moreover, this stunt is aimed at college students.

Many of them are required to have insurance.

And others will have it through their parents, since, under Obamacare, insurance companies have to keep young adults on parental policies until they’re 26.

Getting burnt?

To the burners, the FreedomWorks director of messaging says, “I don’t want anyone to burn their fingers.”

After all, if they hurt themselves, they won’t have insurance.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.