I will point out here that the economically rational thing for young people to do would be to “opt out” of Obamacare and pay the small fine (or, as John Roberts calls it, a tax) instead of buying costly insurance that we’re very unlikely to need. Intriguingly, as a last resort, we Young Invincibles might be able to wreck Obamacare by engaging in heavy drinking, smoking, drug use, licentiousness, and other dicey behavior (thus increasing our own healthcare costs and upsetting the risk pool), but of course I am only kidding.
Joking aside, there is one detail of Obamacare that should give us pause. It has to do with the uneasy relationship between the two genders, and the differences in news coverage and societal reactions when an act of government puts one gender at a relative disadvantage, as Obamacare does. Although the law is driving up premiums for young people in general, the increase experienced by men is significantly greater than it is for women. According to Forbes and The Manhattan Institute, a younger man can expect a 97 to 99 percent increase in his premiums, but a younger woman’s premium will rise by only 55 to 62 percent. (Still a terrible deal, to be sure.) The precise projected increases in the insurance costs of millennials vary from study to study and state to state, but all agree that men will be incurring disproportionate increases compared to women. Again, I am absolutely not saying that Obamacare is a good deal for young women and a bad deal for young men. It’s a bad deal for girls and a considerably worse deal for guys.
Just as it does with other personal characteristics, Obamacare prohibits companies from taking one’s gender into account when charging premiums. To anyone who understands actuarial risk, it is obvious why young men, pre-Obamacare, paid less for insurance than young women. Part of the reason is that women live longer, on average, so they will incur more healthcare expenses over a lifetime. And, of course, young men don’t get pregnant and don’t encounter as many reproductive costs. (By the way, young men pay more for auto insurance because they’re more likely to drive recklessly, and they pay more for life insurance because they’re more likely to die in a given year, yet we don’t hear griping about how “being a man is not a pre-existing condition!”) I make no comment about the policy wisdom of forcing health insurers to abandon gender distinctions in premium pricing, and that is not the focus of this article. I’m just pointing out that men get especially awful treatment under Obamacare, and no one seems to have noticed.
But let’s be honest here: Is there any doubt at all that if the figures were reversed, there would be widespread outcry? Suppose we learned from research that, because of Obamacare, young women would pay way more in increases than young men. The Obama Administration, shocked and horrified, would undoubtedly try to refute the studies as nefarious right-wing propaganda and fear mongering, and offer more free birth control to quell the outrage and bridge this gender gap; conservative opponents of Obamacare would (rightly) seize upon the numbers and accuse Democrats of waging the real War on Women. But the way it is, with men suffering excessively, there is no indignation on either side.
Have nearly fifty years of unquestioned, unchecked second-and-third-wave feminism brought us to this point? Why are we in this situation? Why can the male half of the population get royally screwed over by Obamacare without anyone raising a peep of objection? There are no rallies, no protests, no vows or pledges to defeat anti-men’s health politicians in the next election, no “why are Democrats so unpopular among men?” stories in the media. Conservatives are not taking to the streets demanding that healthcare coverage include free beard trims. Oh, and would someone please tell the NFL that September was Prostate Cancer Awareness month?
I am no fan of the Left’s efforts to pit the genders against one another, and I deplore identity-based politics. But anyone who is bothered by the place Barack Obama and radical feminism have brought us has an obligation to talk about this subject. The other side is willing to bankrupt our country by taking from the young and giving to the old and robbing men to pay for women’s “free” stuff. Obamacare wages a war on men, and no one is outraged. Liberals will uncompromisingly shut down the government, call us terrorists, and deceitfully accuse us of savage misogyny in their desperate battle to preserve this unfairness and ensure young men get the worst deal possible. They will try to bully into silence anyone who points out that Obamacare rips off young men, but I will never stop shouting from the rooftops in my effort to fight this appalling double standard.