Amid the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the public realization that – in spite of the president’s repeated promises to the contrary – millions of Americans will lose their current health care coverage and face drastically higher premiums, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is attempting to generate a more positive tone by reporting that many young Americans will pay little for quality coverage under the act. 

According to a HHS report released Monday:

46% of single adults between the ages of 18 to 34 who qualify for the health insurance marketplaces could get coverage for $50 or less per month – after tax credits.  And about 66% of these uninsured could be eligible for coverage that costs under $100.

In response to these numbers, President Obama declared that the ACA is making health insurance affordable “for the first time,” and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated that “the health care law is delivering the quality, affordable coverage people are looking for.”

By making such claims, the President and Ms. Sebelius are promulgating the false notion that costly bureaucratic mandates somehow become affordable when they are offset by federal entitlements.

Young people should not fall for this deceptive rhetoric.

 In reality, young Americans will face much higher premiums under the act, not only because they will be subsidizing the healthcare costs of the old and unhealthy, but also because they will be forced to buy coverage for services and benefits they don’t want or need.    

The HHS report itself acknowledges that the so called “affordable” premiums will only be available to those who qualify for generous federal subsidies.  In other words, insurance premiums will be affordable not because of reduced costs, but because a large percentage of young, able-bodied Americans will be placed on the federal dole. 

Furthermore, while federal subsidies might disguise the costs of higher premiums by reducing initial out of pocket expenses – in reality, the supposed beneficiaries of these subsidies will still be on the hook as taxpayers for the long term financial obligations racked up by the “generous” coverage they receive.

Young people should not be tricked by the promises of sweet talking bureaucrats and politicians who are saddling them with debt and restricting their personal freedom to make health care decisions and choose coverage based on their own lifestyles and needs.