. . . The administration announced last week that only 1.08 million people ages 18 to 34 had signed up for Obamacare by the end of February, or about 25 percent of total enrollees. If the proportion doesn’t improve significantly, the result likely will be fatal for the Affordable Care Act. . . .
What went wrong? The president and his aides failed to keep his youth movement engaged. But part of the problem also is the inability of the millennial generation to remain attached to a cause. . . .
Even if Obama had worked harder to keep his youth army engaged, it’s not entirely clear that the effort would have succeeded. As a group, the generation’s attachment is fickle. . . .
The millennials are at least as passionate as earlier generations and more entrepreneurial, but they lack ties to institutions — unions, political parties, churches — because of their online existence. . . .
I have a simpler explanation: Obamacare dramatically raised insurance costs for young people, using them to subsidize older people buying insurance. Young people were already paying too high premiums as a result of state regulations, and Obama merely made that problem much worse. Why should the rate that people buy insurance go up when you are asking them to buy unfair insurance?
More from The Hill newspaper:
Young people have signed up at a significantly lower rate than the administration had hoped, raising fears among Affordable Care Act advocates.
The fewer young and healthy people sign up, the higher premiums are likely to rise for older people for whom insurance is more of a necessity. . . .
But even so, the need for young enrollees is acute, and it is forcing President Obama to try to reconnect with an important part of his base. He won 60 percent of the youth vote in 2012, but that support is not easily translating into enrollment. . . .
The reason why insurance premiums for older people will rise if not more young people sign up is simple: you won’t have enough young people to pay more than their costs to subsidize the older people.