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A Pyrrhic Victory for America’s Youth
Will the president’s young fans stop dancing when the entitlement bill comes due?


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Dancing in Chicago, young voters gleefully celebrated President Obama’s victory. Indeed, voters younger than 30 may well have changed the outcome of the race. They represented 19 percent of all voters, even more than they did in 2008, and they favored President Obama by 60 to 37 percent, according to exit polling.

One college student asked me, “What exactly are they so excited about?”

Presumably, they aren’t celebrating their job prospects. Under this administration, unemployment of younger Americans and recent college graduates is not very different from the scandalous unemployment rates of youth in failing European countries whose misguided economic policies are creating a nearly jobless generation.

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Presumably, they aren’t celebrating the increasing tax burdens awaiting the lucky few of them — mainly those who have studied hard and long and spent a great deal on both the direct and indirect (from delayed entry into the work force) costs of advanced education — who will finally attain lucrative jobs.

And presumably, they aren’t celebrating the changes in health care for themselves and their future children directly caused by the now inexorable progression of their president’s signature legislation. The list of unwelcome changes is long:

Many people will not be able to choose their doctor, as millions will lose their current insurance plan and, along with it, their doctors.

Private insurance companies, squeezed dry by the limits Obamacare places on their profit margins, will disappear, even though most doctors accept private insurance and it is proven to result in superior medical outcomes.

Even young, healthy people will be forced to buy expensive health coverage, because Obamacare requires expansive coverage of high-cost care. Consumers will no longer be able to buy less comprehensive, lower-cost insurance, such as high-deductible plans with health-savings accounts, even if that insurance would make the most sense for them.

Millions of Americans will be shifted into Medicaid, insurance that pays doctors and hospitals so little that the needed care will simply not be available — as proven again and again in the U.S. (where fewer and fewer doctors provide care to Medicaid and Medicare recipients, specifically because of low reimbursement rates), as well as in other countries dominated by government insurance.

Parents and grandparents will lose access to the very medical technology and drugs that have revolutionized health care in the past half century; these will become less available to Medicare beneficiaries because of cuts by the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

There will be fewer high-paying careers in the medical-technology industry: Obamacare’s misguided medical-device tax (on revenues, not just profits) is already destroying high-paying jobs for Americans and moving them overseas. More than 400,000 high-paying American jobs of the very sort young people seek are at risk because companies in California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and elsewhere are already eliminating jobs specifically because of Obamacare’s onerous taxes.

Our reelected president, so jubilantly cheered by young voters last week, has completely failed to address what is the single most important problem in America’s health care: the total cost burden on U.S. taxpayers. With Obamacare, one of the greatest intergenerational financial transfers in history, America’s younger generation will bear the burden of unsustainable, ever-expanding entitlements.

Presumably, the young voters who approved of the past four years and chose this year to follow the path set forth by President Obama know exactly what’s in store.

Well, I say go for it, keep on dancing, but watch out when the music stops.

— Scott W. Atlas, M.D. is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author of the recently published book In Excellent Health: Setting the Record Straight on America’s Health Care.



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