[NCCPR analyst David] Hogberg cites the example of an uninsured 22-year-old earning $18,100 a year. Under ObamaCare, she’d be eligible for $1,329 in subsidies. But she would likely save $117 if she paid the fine and remained uninsured. “I could easily use that money for groceries or transportation,” she’s quoted as saying.As a result, ObamaCare is likely to come up well short of the 2.7 million young people the administration figured it would need to sign up in the exchanges next year in order to make them work, the study concluded.
The center that authored this study describes itself as conservative, so its findings might have to be taken with a grain of salt. Moreover, other pundits have noted that there are other reasons a 20-something might purchase insurance, even if the strict financial incentives don’t line up. The penalty will go up in coming years, and many people value health insurance and might want to purchase it anyway.Still, this study is a solid attempt to tease out a huge incentive at work in the law, and the results should have ACA supporters nervous. The Obama administration can only hope and pray that the reasons to comply with the law trump the significant savings from taking the penalty. Right now, it seems like a toss-up.