One thing these conservatives are telling young people is that Obamacare will be different [from the current system]. Because it guarantees that people with preexisting medical conditions can buy insurance, they claim opting out carries no risk. Get sick or injured? Then you can reconsider your decision to opt out.
But this is a falsehood.
For the first year, Obamacare will have an unusually long open-enrollment period. It starts on Oct. 1, but eligible individuals can sign up through March, even if stricken by accident or illness. After that, though, anyone who decides, or is persuaded, to "skip" Obamacare will be as vulnerable as I would've been if I'd never applied for insurance and dropped that check in the mail. They'll be locked out of the system until the next open enrollment period begins on Oct. 14, 2014. That open enrollment period will last just 53 days. Break a leg or develop a serious illness in the interim and you get to choose between paying tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket or suffering for months and rolling the dice with a delayed diagnosis.
I hate Obamacare with a passion but the existence of a limited open-enrollment period each year means the law is considerably less stupid than I thought it was. It’s also a good reminder to me that when I hear about someone or something on the other side being unbelievably dumb, it’s probably best not to believe.
The WSJ argues that even this small window for enrollment doesn’t make buying health insurance a rational choice for “the ‘young invincible’ demographic.” Perhaps not but it does make forgoing health insurance more risky. And if not enough young, healthy people enroll, the government can up the pressure by changing the open-enrollment period to only once every two years (an idea I believe I first read about ages ago at JustOneMinute).