Over the past several months opponents of the Affordable Care Act have released a lot of misinformation and half truths designed to bring the law to its knees. Accusations of death panels, rationed care, record rate increases and the end of our democracy are but a few of the most common. But the attack that we found the most disturbing is their concerted effort to bring about the demise of the ACA by exposing the youth of this country to a medical and financial disaster.
Healthy young adults share a common bond of invincibility. Their entire future lies at their feet. The only question in their minds is how successful they will be in the decades to come. Illness and disease are intangibles to be addressed somewhere down the road. They would rather spend their limited resources on rent, a nice car or a night out on the town than protect themselves from events that only happen to old people.
Republicans are well aware of this mindset. They are also well aware that enrollment of healthy 18-34 year old adults is crucial to the success of the ACA. So Republicans embarked on an organized campaign designed to discourage the youth of America from enrolling in the ACA.
For the past several months the talking heads on FOXNEWS have encouraged young adults NOT to enroll in the ACA. The Koch Brothers spent tens of millions on radio and television ads carrying the same message. Republicans in congress repeated talking points ad nauseam. The message was clear… “Obamacare is certain to be repealed. Why waste your money on something you don’t need.”
Health care and health insurance are expensive. They are expensive in part because people use them. Unless your last breath is brought about by a sudden heart attack or accidental event the odds are that you WILL need access to health care at some point in your life. And when you do it won’t be cheap. One unplanned visit to the ER can bring a bright financial future to an end. Republicans are well aware of these facts. Yet they continue to perpetrate the myth that young adults need not concern themselves about enrolling in the ACA.
The ACA has been vetted by the Supreme Court. It has been vetted by a majority of Americans who elected Obama to a second term. Americans, by a wide margin, have made it clear that they don’t want the ACA repealed. They want it fixed. Yet Republicans continue to beat the drum for repeal. Even today, as the president celebrates the enrollment of 7.1 million Americans into the ACA, Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan will present is budget plan on the floor of the House. His budget will call for the repeal of the law.
We are all entitled to our opinions. Debate is good. It lies at the foundation of our democracy. Republicans have every right to continue to push for the repeal of the ACA.
But taking advantage of the immaturity of our youth…encouraging them to act in a manner that exposes them to the real possibility of financial ruin…all in order to score a political victory…is both reckless and reprehensible.