President Barack Obama boasts that his Obamacare network has enrolled 3 million young people in their parents’ insurance — but the true number is less than 1 million, according to a new analysis by a healthcare expert.
Obama’s number hides the fact that the percentage of young adults with private health coverage is still stuck at 60.5 percent, says Avik Roy, a senior fellow at the N.Y.-based Manhattan Institute.
That’s the same percentage as it was in 2008, under the regime of President George W. Bush.
“The media needs to stop uncritically repeating the Obama administration numbers, which give Obamacare’s ‘slacker mandate’ credit for things it has nothing to do with: namely, growth in government health care, and the broader recovery from the Great Recession,” Roy wrote in an article for Forbes.
Also, “talking about the mandate’s effects on coverage for young adults ignores the higher premiums paid by everyone else as a result,” he wrote.
The so-called “slacker-mandate” isn’t actually free — it costs families whose children are not aged between 18 and 26 somewhere between $160 and $480 a year, says Roy.
The 3 million claim is ubiquitous.
“The truth is, even more folks want to sign up” than the 7.1 million registered for Obamacare by April 1, President Barack Obama said April 1 in a Rose Garden speech. “7.1 million, that’s on top of the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their family’s plan,” he said.
The 7 million sign-ups for Obamacare “doesn’t count… the 3 million-plus young Americans, young adults who have been able to stay on their parents’ plans up to the age of 26,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said the same day.
Obama’s deputies have exaggerated the number of youths on their parents’ plans by overestimating the percentage of health-care plans that must include youths up to age 26, Roy wrote.
Officials have also claimed credit for all youth who gained insurance after the recession hit rock bottom in 2010. If current percentages with insurance are compared to pre-crash percentages, then there’s a gain of only 1 million youths on insurance, Roy estimated.
Also, a large survey run by the census bureau shows only a slight gain since 2010 in youth coverage of only 2.1 percent, up to 60.5 percent. That translates into a gain of 630,000 extra youths with coverage, not 3 million.
Also, the cost of the “free” mandate is born by other families.
“The cost of family-based insurance for everyone else by 1 to 3 percent,” Roy reported, while citing a study described in a 2011 New York Times article.
“The average family plan in 2014 costs more than $16,000, meaning that the under-26 mandate is the equivalent of a $160 to $480 annual tax on families without adult children,” Roy says.