Andrew Clark: Rejecting health care reform

Don’t listen to what the pundits say about our generation; as a college student, you should be the first in line to oppose President Obama’s health care plan.

On the surface, it may seem like the Democrats’ plan will be a boon for our generation. Cheap insurance? Good benefits? We should be clamoring for it! What are we waiting for? Well, upon closer examination of the bill, it turns out that H.R. 3200 and the other alternatives are not good deals for us at all.

According to a 2007 U.S. Census report, our age bracket of 18-24 has the highest uninsured rate among any age group, about 29 percent. This is largely because we feel we simply don’t need it. We see ourselves as generally healthy, rarely go to the hospital and only get yearly checkups from doctors. We’d rather take the risk of out-of-pocket expenses for those visits than pay for costly insurance. For instance, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the average annual cost of insurance for a healthy 25-year-old male in the state of New Jersey is $5,880.

Of course, we can probably agree that it is logical for everyone to have some sort of health insurance – catastrophic coverage, for instance, covers only the worst accidents and resulting health care costs – and that the Democrats’ plan to mandate that everyone buy insurance can’t be that bad.

Consider, however, that under the plan you won’t be able to buy just catastrophic coverage. The Democrats’ plan requires every insurance policy to cover specific benefits. H.R. 3200 would mandate that we buy insurance that covers, among other things, maternity care, substance abuse services and rehabilitation. The resolution also creates a government board that can require other mandates as it sees fit. Recent history has shown us that medical lobbyists descend on these boards like moths to the flame and press for mandating a Pandora’s box of services.

This will only lead to higher costs and a mandate that our generation buy things we don’t want. I don’t want to buy coverage for services the government thinks I need, only services I think I need.

The situation in New Jersey, the home of many GW students, is especially interesting. New Jersey has some of the highest insurance costs in the country because of the state’s ridiculous coverage mandates. The same plan that costs $5,880 in New Jersey can be bought for $960 in Kentucky, a low-regulation state. Mind you, Democrats don’t want us to be able to buy insurance across state lines.

For those of you who aren’t from N.J., Democrats want to do to the rest of us what they’ve done to New Jersey. As the Wall Street Journal commented last year, “the goal of public policy shouldn’t be to cover every medical procedure or doctor’s visit, but to prevent families from catastrophic expenses due to a health problem that is no fault of their own.”

So, if the Democrats plan won’t lower costs in this regard or provide us with the insurance we actually need, why are we supporting it?

When we factor in the price of this plan that won’t give us cheap health care, or even the health insurance we want or need, the deal looks even less attractive. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the plan will cost an estimated $1 trillion, adding $239 billion to the deficit. The actual burden on the deficit will probably be far greater, as any number of government health programs have always exceeded their cost expectations. The exploding deficit will either mean higher taxes on us all – simply taxing the rich will not cover it – or an inflation-spiraling economy that will fail to provide us jobs for the next several years. What if the government had to cut funding for student loans in order to pay for health care? Would it be worth it then?

So next time you see the Democrats on TV, consider that Obama is offering us the following deal: in exchange for higher taxes and higher costs of health care, I’ll make you buy health insurance that won’t cover things you need and it will still be expensive!

Yeah, it doesn’t sound like a good deal to me, either. So when the time comes to get the Obamacare booster shot, just say no thanks, doc.

The writer, a junior majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist and a member of the College Republicans executive board.

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