Sickness, injury and old age are what happen to someone else, and that badly mistaken belief has caused health-care specialists to dub these millennials the “Young Invincibles.”
Unfortunately for the ACA, this demographic is vital to the finances of the health care exchanges; the participation and premiums of the young and healthy subsidize the much higher medical costs of older generations.
In the states where signups for the new plan have been most successful — Kentucky, California and Maryland — nearly a quarter of enrollees are 35 and younger, but that’s well short of the goal of getting 28 percent of young adults nationwide to sign up by the 2014 enrollment period ends in March.
The Obama administration has been running TV ads during NFL games and elsewhere in TV and in print aimed at persuading young people to sign up. Congressional Republicans, who have given up for now on their campaign to repeal Obamacare, are running ads deriding the act, especially for younger people.
According to the newspaper The Hill, “polls show the ‘young invincibles’ key to making the law work are becoming less likely to enroll.”
This past week the White House played host to a Youth Summit of young millennials aged 18 to 35 to whip up enthusiasm for signing up through rallies, campus conferences and social media. The president even suggested that bartenders talk up the health care act during happy hour.
Maybe the bartenders can overcome the problem pointed out by Spence Griffin, executive producer of the website CollegeHumor, “Health care is about the most boring subject to a 22-year-old there is.”
A survey by Harvard this week showed the administration does indeed have cause to worry: 61 percent of people 18 to 29, disapproved of the president’s handling of health care; 57 percent disapproved of the Affordable Care Act itself; and 44 percent think the quality of their health care will get worse. Sounds like those young people have been talking to their older and wiser parents and grandparents.