In order for health care insurance to be successful, all have to participate. It is a simple rule in insurance– the unaffected ultimately pay for the effected, whether it is health insurance, home insurance or life insurance. Economically, the program can only work if all participate, or the total risk pool is large and diverse enough. Look at automobile insurance. Liability is mandated in all 50 states. In my own case, I have paid health insurance for 30 years. In 29 of those 30, all I needed were routine physicals and occasional acute care. In one of those years, I had heart surgery. I wish I could have figured out which of the years I would need the insurance and put the premiums of the other 29 years into the bank !! It just doesn’t work that way. For 29 years I subsidized others, for one year I received a huge benefit.
A critical flaw in the health care system today is that the young, well people are choosing NOT to get health care insurance. Even though the premiums are relatively low for that group, there is no incentive for young people, who consider themselves invincible (as did I at the time), to incur an additional expense of health insurance. The economic penalties for not getting health insurance are simply too small to make a difference. As more and more sick Americans sign up for health insurance, the risk pool gets continually worse unless relatively healthy people are contribute to that pool. As such, premiums will rise even higher. Many of us are seeing that right now as we look at our 2015 premiums. Young, healthy Americans must participate.
Many young people do not watch the regular news; they are simply turned off about watching the same issues endlessly deliberated. But they DO watch Colbert. Regardless of whether you agree with the specifics of Obamacare or not, it is simply a fact that more young people need to purchase health insurance in order for ANY health care system to work.
Obama chose a brilliant media to reach our youth. He was able to express that message on that show better than any other speech, covered by all the news networks, could have possibly accomplished.
Even if we wind up with “McConnell-Care” instead, as Obama joked on the broadcast, no system will ever succeed unless all Americans participate, especially our youth. Republicans and democrats need to unite on this one. Whether a fan or foe of Obamacare, we need the participation of our youth.
Thanks for delivering that needed message, Mr. President.