The Price is Wrong (for Universal Health Care)
One of the most interesting questions about the health care overhaul now moving through Congress is how it would affect young adults. That legislation would force most or all Americans to purchase health insurance (an "individual mandate") and would impose price controls on health insurance ("community rating") that would limit insurers' ability to offer lower premiums to low-risk enrollees.
Those provisions would drive premiums down for 55-year-olds but would drive them up for 25-year-olds—who are then implicitly subsidizing older adults. According to the Urban Institute, many young people could see their premiums double, whereas premiums for older adults could be cut in half.
Most young adults would be eligible for insurance subsidies, but they would end up paying for those subsidies themselves -- and paying for subsidies to others. In short,
It is ironic that Barack Obama won the presidency with 66 percent of the vote among voters age 18 to 29.17 That’s a larger share than any presidential candidate has won in decades. Yet his health care overhaul could impose its greatest burdens on the young.
College students have good reason to be wary of universal health care. “When they talk about health care reform, they’re thinking about coverage for the elderly. I really do feel like the college bunch is being looked over. We’re a bogus grey area,” said Joanna Zobjeck, a college student in Wisconsin.
Other students rightly echo her thoughts:
“People can’t just get (health insurance) handed to them. They should take some action towards being healthy,” said health promotions student Michelle Zach, 24....
“It’s hard to decide (whether to support reform proposals) because you want it to be equal, but then you ask why am I paying for someone who continues to smoke a carton a day,” said Shannon Ward, 25, who tutors part time at UWO and is uninsured.
You can take action against this unfair imposition of big government on young people today! Hold a mock game of the classic show, "The Price is Right" to draw attention to the high costs of universal health care to young people.
Ask passersby to participate, guessing the cost to individual college-age citizens of universal health care. Here are some figures to use, all of which are taken from the Cato study:
- On average, how would so-called "health care reform" affect the insurance premiums of young people? Young people's premiums would double. ("Young people" refers to 25-year olds.)
- On average, how would so-called "health care reform" affect the insurance premiums of older people? Older people's premiums would be cut by half, subsidized by the young. ("Older people" refers to 55-year olds.)
- Ironically, though President Obama won a large proportion of the votes of young adults, he plans to impose the costs of his health care plans on them. What percentage of the youth vote did he win? Obama won 66% of the youth vote.
- Many of those eligible for a subsidy under the ObamaCare plan have incomes well above the poverty line. How far above the poverty line can your income be for you to retain eligibility? Eligibility for an insurance subsidy includes those individuals and families with incomes up to 500% of the poverty level.
- How much is 500% over the poverty line? For a family of four, 500% over the poverty line is $110,000, an income which hardly makes insurance out of reach.
Have one of your group members be an enthusiastic host to the game show, and award prizes to those who guess correctly.
You could also have several group members dress up as the models displaying potential prizes and set up a loudspeaker and microphone to allow an announcer to attract additional crowds. Hand out informational flyers even to those who do not play the games. Make sure your flyers explain why the spending you mention is wasteful rather than simply making unsupported accusations.
This event can be held at any time of the year.
NOTE: Do not use the phrase or logo for “The Price is Right” anywhere on your displays. Avoid violating copyright law.
HOW TO TAKE ACTION
1. Collect the materials needed for the event. You will need to acquire plywood or some other material sturdy enough to make the “Price Is Right” games, costumes for your host, models, and announcer, a loudspeaker setup, poster board and other materials for signs, a table, prizes, informational flyers, and a group signup sheet. Remember to print out multiple copies of the Cato study to hand out to anyone who challenges your statements.
2. Reserve space on campus for the event. Contact the Student Activities Office and attempt to reserve the most high-traffic area available.
3. Invite allied organizations. Ask other fiscally conservative organizations on campus or in the outside community to contribute to the purchase of supplies or help run the games at your table. This is a great way to strengthen cooperation between different groups in the conservative movement, and to increase attendance and volunteers in the form of members of the other groups.
4. Advertise! Success depends on how well you publicize your event, so you should advertise early and often. This doesn’t necessarily mean paid advertising; “earned media” may work even better for you. Click here to learn several important publicity measures to use before, during, and after the event.
5. Prepare for opposition. Keep a video camera available at all times, and record any aggression – both verbal and physical. If some behaves belligerently, ask why he or she objects to your exercise of your right to free speech. For more information on how to deal with opposition on campus, reference "Fight Back."
6. Create a schedule. Have members of your group volunteer as much time as possible to man your informational table and interact with passersby.
7. Come On Down! Play “The Price Is Wrong” with as many passing members of your campus community as are willing to participate. Be sure to distribute all your prizes and informational flyers, even if students don’t tend to guess prices successfully. Make sure group members maintain enthusiasm and engage passersby. Thoroughly educate your campus on the high costs of universal health care to college students.
8. Advertise! (again) The fact that your event is over does not mean that your public relations work is done. Earned media can be extremely useful to you. Click here to learn several important follow-up publicity measures to do after the event is finished.
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