OPINION: There's nothing all-volunteer about Obama's health plan

Conscription, or the military draft, was discontinued by the U.S. in 1973. While the government still requires men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register so that a draft can be readily resumed, the nation went to an “all volunteer” military when the draft ended.
Of course, registration with the Selective Service is not optional. Failure to register can block a citizen from eligibility for various federal programs and benefits including student loans, federal jobs and job trainingand naturalization. Strange now that Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration want to implement a national health care system that forces young people around the age of 25 to purchase health insurance through the so-called “individual mandate” and would likewise force those young people to pay higher premiums that in effect subsidize health care premiums for older adults.
Why? Obama and the Democrats want to provide universal health coverage to the estimated 46 million in America without health care coverage (30 million, President Obama told us, if one does not count illegal or undocumented immigrants) and somebody has to pay for that.
The status of uninsured in America is concentrated at its highest percentage – according to University of Kentucky economist Aaron Yelowitz – for Americans at the ages of 23 and 24. Yelowitz reports that one-third of all 23-year-olds were uninsured in 2008.
But while young adults comprise 31 percent of all the uninsured in the U.S., they only comprise 16.5 percent of the total population.
Yelowitz argues in a recent Cato Institute essay that the so-called “community ratings” and “guaranteed issue” components of the Obama health care reforms “create a price control scheme where healthy 25-year-olds pay the same premiums as 55-year-old smokers.”
The UK economist argues “the compulsory purchase of health insurance would drive up the premiums for the 25-year-olds – who are then implicitly subsidizing older individuals.”
The Congressional Budget Office has compared the health insurance “individual mandate” for young people to the military draft: “Federal mandates that apply to individual members of society are rare. One example is the requirement that draft-age men register with the Selective Service System. The CBO is not aware of any others imposed by current federal law.”
Yelowitz notes that President Obama recently compared health insurance mandates to car insurance mandates. The economist counters that argument with the fact that many people in urban areas opt out of the car insurance mandates by not owning a car.
But using Obama’s example, Yelowitz notes that a 16-year-old boy with a ticket pays more for car insurance than a 55-year-old woman. He’s says the analogy the president draws between mandated health insurance and mandated car insurance works only “if nondrivers were forced to buy car insurance and pay the exact same premiums as a 16-year-old” with speeding tickets.
Young people overwhelmingly supported Obama’s election with more than two-thirds of them voting for him.
But Yelowitz notes that Obama’s health care plan will be a huge financial burden on them and will continue for the next generation.
Contact syndicated columnist Sid Salter at (601) 961-7084 or e-mail salter@clarionledger.com.

Sid Salter

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