Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
As we approach the October 1 opening of the Obamacare insurance exchanges, the right wing chorus is becoming increasingly shrill and desperate. Lies and half-truths are being propagated by anti-care governors (including our own) about the costs of individual coverage on the exchanges. House Republicans are trying to impede the insurance navigators, experts who will help guide people to appropriate coverage. There is still talk by traitorous Washington politicians about shutting down the government in order to stall implementation of the law.
Of all of the asinine attempts to stop over 30 million Americans from gaining access to health care, probably the silliest is one coming from the far right FreedomWorks. They have a program to try to convince young Americans to pay a fine and simply forgo health insurance coverage.
The brainiacs at FreedomWorks even designed a fake “Obamacare card” so that young adults could symbolically burn them at campus rallies. Organization President Matt Kibbe wrote “The Man says he has a plan for you. I say it’s time for young people to tune in, turn on, drop out, and yes, torch those Obamacare cards.” In Kibbe's mind, there should be a youth rebellion against the social injustice of universal access to low cost health insurance.
Founded in 2004, FreedomWorks is one of the “astro-turf” groups that bankrolled the Tea Party phenomenon. Some of their primary causes include halting climate legislation, promoting anti-union laws, privatizing Social Security, and repealing health care reform. The group also supports extremist political candidates through a super PAC.
In insuring a large group, such as employees of a company, people from a cross section of ages and health profiles are pooled to yield average costs that are much lower than those available to the least healthy. Also, cost savings are gained through the bargaining power of the group. One of the core ideas behind the Affordable Care Act is to provide similar cost savings by pooling individuals who buy health coverage on their own.
However, if only old and sick individuals are included in the exchange's pool, the insurance for all participants would be prohibitively high. FreedomWorks' disgraceful campaign to convince younger Americans to go without insurance is predicated on the idea that, if enough healthy people stay away, the exchanges will collapse. Never mind the Russian Roulette that FreedomWorks is encouraging these young people to play with their lives, their health, and their financial futures.
A common misconception is that, under Obamacare, people could simply do without health insurance until they are sick. This is patently false. With few exceptions, you will only be able to sign-up through the exchanges during the enrollment periods. For 2014, enrollment starts on October 1 and runs through March 31, 2014. Miss that window, and you are out of luck until 2015. For 2015 and subsequent years , the enrollment period is even shorter, running from Oct. 1 through December 7.
So lets say that you decide to go uninsured during 2015 and do not sign up in the Oct-Dec 2014 enrollment window. If you get pregnant, contract the flu, have a car accident, or develop cancer during 2015, then you are SOL on health care insurance until January 1, 2016.
And if you decide to go without insurance, don't count on the charity of hospitals for free care. Currently, the federal government reimburses $20 billion/year to hospitals for treating uninsured patients. Since Obamacare is meant to dramatically cut the number of those without coverage, the federal reimbursements are scheduled to be cut in half by 2019. Hospitals will be financially unable to care for a large number of freeloaders.
So if you follow Freedomworks' advice and refuse to purchase health insurance, good luck. I guess that you could simply declare bankruptcy after racking up large medical bills. However, it will be difficult buying a car or house after that. And many companies examine your credit record during the hiring process.
Or maybe you could rely on the beneficence of others to pay your medical bills. You could tap a rich uncle. Or hold car washes and bake sales. Or post a collection jar at the Stop-N-Go.
Or better yet, you could just send the bill to FreedomWorks. After all, they are the ones that encouraged you in this reckless course of action. I am sure that they will support you all the way. Good luck collecting from them. Here is their address:
601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
North Building, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20004
So follow the inspiration of the folks at FreedomWorks. Burn your fake Obamacare card. Don't buy insurance coverage. Take it to The Man. Refuse to take personal responsibility for your health care needs. As you needlessly suffer from untreated medical problems, as you try to recover from an accident with inadequate care, keep in mind that you are doing it for the common good. You are striking a blow for American freedom.