President Barack Obama has a problem with Millennials. We brought the votes and the noise in 2012: 60 percent of us voted for him. But the honeymoon is now officially over.
Young Americans were once the most enthusiastic supporters of Obamacare, but we are now the law’s most ardent foes. The latest poll shows that 57 percent of people between ages 18 and 29 disapprove of this law — and only 13 percent of my generation “definitely” plans on signing up.
What turned us against the law we once liked? Reality. When Obamacare finally came a-knockin’ in October, our government gave us a choice between having our pockets picked and opting out. Guess which one we chose?
It was the right decision to make. At the end of the day, Obamacare hurts Millennials more than it helps us. Just look at what it does to our wallets. After the exchanges opened, we found that the average premium for a 27-year-old had increased in 45 states.
The increases weren’t exactly chump change, either. Forbes estimates that Obamacare insurance rates will be as much as 99 percent higher for young men and as much as 62 percent higher for women. In Nevada, our total annual payments for health insurance are now more than $2,000.
That’s a total rip-off. We’re already struggling with an average of $32,000 in student loans, our average income is much lower than our parents’ and grandparents’, and our unemployment rate is more than twice the national average at nearly 16 percent. We need every extra penny we can save — and yet Obamacare is set to fleece us on a monthly basis.
Either the White House hasn’t noticed this inconvenient truth or it’s unwilling to admit it exists. Either way, the Obama administration is covering it up with a flashy new public relations campaign. The best example is the Department of Health and Human Services’ recent competition, in which millions of dollars were spent begging Millennials to create positive videos and songs about Obamacare.
HHS announced the winning entry earlier this month — and it couldn’t have been more out of touch. It was a catchy song that urged Millennials to “Forget about the price tag” and just sign up.
Yes, you read that right. The person who wrote those lyrics might be able to heed her own advice — she won $30,000 for her puff piece — but the rest of us aren’t so lucky.
Once that tactic failed, the president reached out to us himself. The White House hosted a “Youth Summit” specifically targeted at 18- to 35-year-old activists (I’m still waiting for my invitation). He told us that “stuff that’s worth it is always hard,” and that “at the end of the day” we’d “think it’s worth it.”
The sentiment is nice, but what’s more important is what the president left unsaid. The unspoken truth is that the exchanges won’t be able to make ends meet without our money. The onus is on us to subsidize the system, regardless of whether we can afford it.
The president didn’t tell us that. Instead, he looked into our eyes and told us that he knows better than us how we should spend our money and live our lives.
He must have forgotten that he was talking to the “young invincibles.” Treating us like children won’t persuade us to sign onto a bad deal. We’re also smart enough to know that we have other options, like purchasing insurance from the private market that gives us the coverage we want at a price we can afford. As for Obamacare, we’re just not buying what the president’s selling.
Evan Feinberg is the president of Generation Opportunity.