Hey, Healthy Young People:
Today is a critical day for the roll-out of Obamacare because it is the deadline for citizens to sign up before they face hefty penalties (at least an additional 2% income tax) for not enrolling.
As of today the the Affordable Care Act’s roll out and implementation have been by all measures a disaster. Twenty-three non-profit health insurance companies who agreed to provide coverage under the provisions of the law have gone bankrupt. Premiums have skyrocketed, forcing the government to subsidize premiums even more, and worst of all just ten million people have enrolled and most of them are not the most healthy citizens who they had hoped to entice.
President Obama thought that his cool factor and his 67 million Twitter followers would get the young and healthy to follow along and enroll. But we haven’t. Today Obama believes that is all going to change because all of the young and healthy will need to pay huge penalty if they don’t enroll.
Personally, my wife and I will face paying a nearly $1,400 fine on our 2016 taxes if we don’t sign up today. This is close to half of what we would pay if we enroll, so I really should enroll, right? I’ve decided to pay the penalty unless the law is reformed.
It’s thanks to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts that this part of the law was deemed Constitutional. I don’t believe the government has a right to tell me what I must do with my health, especially when it comes to me signing up for a very expensive unneeded insurance policy. Chief Justice Roberts decided this would be Constitutional because he equated it to how the government currently issues fines or taxes to those who fail to sign up for auto insurance. I fail to understand this logic: my own body and health are nothing like the car I drive around in every day which can inadvertently cause a great bodily harm or an accident to an innocent bystander.
I have been fortunate to have very good health. But this is because I take charge of my health. I exercise almost daily and once in a while I eat vegetables. I know that I could very easily look like the guy on the right in the photo above if I didn’t exercise and enjoyed my favorite foods every day. But I also know that if I did look like him, I would be unable to afford my diabetes and cholesterol medication and overall healthcare (I am genetically prone to these diseases). This is an incentive for me to be healthy and look more like the guy on left. But just last year I was looking more like the guy on the right and I realized that if I didn’t change my habits, I was heading for a disaster.
I’m one of those who believes that the more we can take charge of our lives, the less we will need to rely on the government and the more freedom we will enjoy. Self determinism and self reliance are a large part of what it means to be an American. In other words, the government should step aside and stay out of the way for those of us who are fortunate enough to have control over our own lives and our own health and encourage healthy and productive behaviors rather than discourage them by passing more depressing and unhealthy laws. Writing this story is certainly causing my blood pressure to elevate.
Why Healthy People Should Ignore Today’s Deadline
We should all have the right to be uninsured. I find it especially big-brotherish when the government behaves as if its a “civic duty” to enroll so I can help pay for all of those who really, really need health insurance.
I did the calculations and I found that by charging me a minimum of $141 per month, the government is punishing me for being healthy, to pay for the premiums of those who make less healthy choices. I’ve seen a doctor once in the past ten years. $141 per month is a ridiculous amount of money for me. And this is for a $5,000 deductible policy. No thanks.
Does Insurance for the Fit and Healthy Exist?
I would be interested in buying into of an insurance program that is like an elite fitness club. One that I could pay a few dollars which is designed just for healthy people who exercise and are in great shape. Besides being good for me, it would probably encourage more people to get fit, like Michelle Obama so passionatly promotes. When there is a financial incentive to be fit, rather than a financial disincentive, the market takes over and people respond.
With a plan like this I could know that I am protected in case I come down with cancer or suffer a tragic accident, which is all I really care about. I have no problem paying out of pocket for medical expenses.
But under the current law my good health is supposed to subsidize those who choose to smoke, drink, use drugs or who don’t exercise or over-consume sugary soda or processed foods.
This is wrong. Continuing to punish the healthy the hard working will cause greater income inequality in the United States, not less. We need to take care of the poor and the suffering in America, but we don’t need to widen this definition to include everyone.
We seldom share our political opinions on Utah Stories. But the reason I’m writing this isn’t because I need everyone to agree with me, but because I would like to hear from those who disagree and start a civil discourse. Tell me what you think in the comments below.