Obamacare requires young people to pay higher health insurance premiums in order to subsidize older people’s coverage. But don’t worry, say Obamacare’s defenders: Many young people will qualify for federal subsidies to offset the higher premiums. For example, health policy analyst Austin Frakt says, “[M]ost of the cross subsidization is not flowing from younger to older individuals. It’s flowing from the treasury to everyone with low enough incomes.”
This defense doesn’t hold water.
First, only those earning below 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible for subsidies, which means if you are a young single worker who makes more than $45,960 a year, you must pay the higher premiums imposed by Obamacare entirely out of your own pocket. In my view, even one young person fleeced to pay for the older generation’s health care expenses is too many.
Second, the government obtains money for the promised subsidies by confiscating funds from its citizens—in the form of taxes, borrowing, or printing money (this last effectively depletes savings). So when Frakt says the federal government will effectively be subsidizing the coverage of those older, what he means is that everyone (including young people) whose earnings are drained by the government will pay for the coverage of those older. But it’s wrong for the government to force any group of people—be they young, of higher-income, or classified by any other category—to pay the medical bills of others.