Why the NFL said No to Promoting ObamaCare

American businessmen who sell something to a broad swath of citizens in the United States, generally do not associate themselves with divisive political causes, it’s bad for business.

Why? It makes some portion of their customers upset and angry — and the longer the ObamaCare implementation goes on, the lower the polls for ObamaCare go — which is exactly the opposite of the Dems prediction of ObamaCare “selling itself.”

In general, this is what happens when political parties (with their cheer leading media allies) use closed rules and other heavy handed political tactics to suppress dissent and cram laws down the throats of voters.

It also may be a preview of how well the “it’s the right thing to do” argument is going to go over with the young and healthy like Vernon, who gave an interview this week explaining that because ObamaCare has defined a full time worker as somebody who works 30 hours or more (meaning the employer must provide health insurance) Vernon’s work hours have been cut to less than 30 hours.

When Vernon adds up his lost income plus the cost of complying with the ObamaCare mandate to buy health insurance, as Vernon said, “That leaves me $27.50 for two weeks to live off of.”

How do you think he’ll respond when somebody tells him that living off of $27.50 for two weeks every month is “the right thing to do?”

What are the odds that Vernon complies with the ObamaCare mandate?

What happens when the young and healthy decide they are at ‘no’ on complying with the ObamaCare mandate?

Or, they decide it’s in their financial interest (obviously) to pay the $95 fine in 2014, instead of complying?

Politico reports that the primary advertising message for the young to sign up for ObamaCare is “to guilt.”

It’s setting up competing motivations — guilt or avoidance of financial pain. Which motivation do you think will win — the young male’s wallet or his nagging Mom?

From Politico’s article, ObamaCare: Because Mom Said So:

“Advocacy groups from “Moms Rising” to AARP are working to reach the healthy, young adults who don’t think they need insurance — and their mothers who think they do. The groups plan to use everything from paid advertising — to guilt.

“We’re going for the heartstrings,” said Nicole Duritz, vice president of health and family education and outreach at AARP, which will be stepping up messaging later this summer as the Oct. 1 sign-up date nears.”

As the Washington Post said, the reason the administration wanted the NFL to promote ObamaCare, was because it would provide them a way to reach young and healthy males, who are needed to sign up to offset the crush of less healthy that will sign up for ObamaCare.

The way to get the young and healthy to sign up is to make it in their interest to sign up, not cause them intense financial hardship if they comply.

These will be the on-going political dividends of ObamaCare to the Dems, unless something changes to make it in the financial interest of people like Vernon to comply with the ObamaCare mandate.

And given that even the Chairman of the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate Committee on Finance believes re-opening the ObamaCare to amendment, as he told the New York Times, is politically lethal for his fellow Dems: “I’m not sure we’re going to get to the point where it’s time to open the bill and make some changes. Once you start, it’s Pandora’s box.”

Add this to the House and Senate Republicans, who are 100% clear on the part where, “you voted for it, you live with it,” — and it equals zero chance there will be any legislative change to ObamaCare.

That means the only way to cure the significant problem that Vernon and others like him face is a regulatory fix, to somehow make it in the financial interest of the young and healthy to comply with the ObamaCare mandate, instead of paying the $95 fine for not complying.

But hey, the mainstream media and the pro-ObamaCare bloggers like Ezra Klien are still attacking those who point out that the premium increases caused by community rating (where the young are forced to subsidize the older) is really politically motivated and should be ignored or downplayed, and there is no such thing as health insurance premium sticker shock because of ObamaCare.

Is there no such thing as ObamaCare-hours-shock either, for those part-time workers who have seen their 40 hour work week cut to less than 30 hours, representing a 25% or more cut in their earnings? (Employers must make sure their workers do not come close to working 30 hours or it will trigger the pay-for-health-care rule, so these workers are really now limited to working less than 30 hours, somewhere in the 26 or 27 hour range.)

And we have not even gotten to the part of the story where the insurers, seeing the young-won’t-sign-up handwriting on the wall, simply decline to participate in the public exchanges because they see a massive flood of uninsured who have years worth of pent up health care demands, combined with a swarm of less healthy signing up, but no healthy to balance out the cost of care. Under the ObamaCare rules, this means that the insurers take a huge loss.

So, my expectation is, without a regulatory fix to make it in the financial interest of the young and healthy now-part-timers like Vernon, insurers will increasingly back away from being in the public exchanges.

Now, there will be some who say the financial risk of not signing up for ObamaCare is not worth the financial pain of compliance.

First, risk is in the eye of the beholder. And for those young healthy males who do not sign up, they really are not taking a big risk.

Most males are hospitalized exactly once between the ages of 18 and 65. That’s the actuarial truth of the risk they are facing. And a whole lot of young or middle aged males intuitively understand this fact.

Second, preaching and guilting about why it is important to sign up for health insurance may work in a vacuum of facts, but once you factor in the increase in the health insurance premiums and the reduction in income from hours worked being slashed by 25% of more, the only thing preaching self-inflicting massive financial pain is going to do, is make these financially stressed out workers more angry.

For these workers, ObamaCare turns out to be exactly like COBRA — where you lose your job and the price of your insurance skyrockets — which is why only the tiniest number of people pay the COBRA prices, and they are usually the very sick who know that not paying will cost them more. (It’s the same story, just a different verse: the sick sign up for COBRA, but the healthy do not.)

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