President Obama has a problem with Millennials. We brought the votes and the noise in 2012: 66 percent of us voted for him in Florida. 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 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? It wasn’t the botched rollout and the broken website, though such failures undermine our confidence in government to solve our problems. It wasn’t even the empty promises about us keeping our plans and our doctors — although placing politics above people has depleted our trust in this president.
No, it was 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 an average 27-year-old had increased dramatically in Florida.
The increases weren’t exactly chump change, either. In Florida, they went up 147 percent percent. That’s an extra $97 every month, or more than $1,000 more each year. And they’re not alone — Millennials saw rate hikes in 45 states.
That’s a total rip-off. We’re already struggling with an average $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 fleeces us on a monthly basis.
Either the White House hasn’t noticed this inconvenient truth or they’re unwilling to admit that it exists. Either way, they’re covering it up with a flashy new public relations campaign. The best example is the Department of Health and Human Services’ recent competition that spent millions of dollars begging Millennials to make positive videos and songs about Obamacare.
HHS announced the winning entry last week, 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 recently hosted a “Youth Summit” specifically targeted to 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 convince us to sign onto a bad deal. We’re also smart enough to know that we have other options, such as 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, an organization that promotes opportunities for young people by fighting for a less intrusive government and more freedom.