Margaret Carlson: Young People Who Don’t Want to Buy Health Insurance Are 'Deadbeats'

October 5th, 2013 3:36 PM

This is really rich.

Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson on PBS’s Inside Washington Friday called young people that don’t want to buy health insurance “deadbeats” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

MARGARET CARLSON: When you talk to Republicans, how, you know, it’s like a hot button issue. How did healthcare become like abortion and guns? And, it’s individual mandate. They do not, you know, if it had been called individual responsibility, it might have worked better because in fact, a big part of the resistance comes from young people who didn’t get insurance because they didn’t think they need it and they were riding the system in emergency rooms. So they have to pay $100 a month for a bronze, you know, big co- pay insurance.

CARLSON: Wait, are you defending deadbeats? Is that, is that your meaning here?

As I said at the onset, this is really rich.

So a young working person making above the Medicaid limit decides not to buy health insurance – which morbidity tables show will likely have little to no benefit for him or her until many years later – is a deadbeat. But the likely older and less healthy person that as a result of some stranger’s purchase will be able to get health insurance for free or at a discounted price is the good guy.

The discussion got even richer when host Gordon Peterson responded, “According to Quinnipiac, 45 percent of the American people like it, 47 percent don’t like it. Why? Why are those numbers? If this is so good for the American people, why are they divided about this?”

Simple: because with the exception of the left and their media minions, few people think it’s either Constitutional or moral to require people to buy something they don’t want in order to bring the price of that thing down for others.

They rightly see this as a redistribution of wealth and see that as part of a socialist system not a democratic republic.

Sadly in the view of folks such as Carlson, people who feel this way are deadbeats while the ones being redistributed to are the good guys.

Something else to consider is the relatively small amount of money hospitals lose each year in uncompensated care.

This totalled $41 billion in 2011. That represented only 1.5 percent of the $2.7 trillion in total healthcare expenditures that year.

How much of $41 billion was young uninsured people is unknown, but I highly doubt it came close to costs hospitals eat associated with illegal immigrants and older uninsured people not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.

Think about it logically: the reason for the individual mandate was to get younger, healthier people buying insurance. The expectation is their premiums will exceed their claims. If that's not the case, there's no benefit to bringing them into the pool.

As such, it is a metaphysical certitude that what these young people spend in mandated premiums will far exceed what they would have spent paying for their own healthcare as needed. And, as hospitals are very aggressive in collecting unpaid bills, it is likely that most working young people actually pay for their care rather than sticking it to hospitals as Carlson claimed.

If that's the case, it seems unlikely that young people represent a significant percentage of hospitals' uncompensated costs, and that this is another falsehood media members such as Carlson repeat endlessly without ever being challenged.

Makes you sick just thinking about it, doesn't it?