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What Sec. Sebelius Should Be Telling College Graduates About ObamaCare

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has a message for college graduates, “Because of the Affordable Care Act, you’ll be able to begin this next chapter of your life with the peace of mind and security health insurance provides.” It’s a wonder she didn’t also ask them to help fund implementation of ObamaCare, as she has (perhaps illegally) several health insurance company executives.

Sebelius laid out the “benefits” of ObamaCare for college graduates in a recent opinion piece in the Huffington Post. Notably, it’s a very short list—just four points. And except for the one touting students’ ability to stay on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26, it’s the same benefits she would cite if talking to a group of 40-somethings.

You’d think that a law that costs $1.3 trillion, according to the latest Congressional Budget Office estimate, would buy more than four benefits—and even those four are overstated. Sebelius’ effort is part of a broader push by the left to convince young Americans they really want this law—since almost no one else does.

Had the secretary wanted to be honest with college graduates her message would look more like this:

Let me be the first to congratulate you on your remarkable achievement, and tell you what the Affordable Care does for (or to) you.

First, the ACA saddles you with a new financial obligation for the rest of your life. I know many of you spent your parents’ savings, and you may have borrowed thousands of dollars in order to get your degree.

And the job market has been lousy for new graduates. But President Obama has kicked off his fifth—or is it his sixth?—jobs tour, which we all hope will be more successful than the previous ones.

Not only will you have to start paying back those loans, but thanks to the ACA you must buy very expensive health coverage. While we are trying to force employers to shoulder most of that burden, the obligation to have coverage rests with you—until you die.

You should also know that the law forces health insurers to charge young people like you more so that older (and usually higher income) people can be charged less. Of course, prior to the law, the vast majority of young, healthy people were able to get health insurance at very low prices precisely because they were young and healthy. But the ACA puts a stop to that practice, and your premiums could rise between 50 percent and 100 percent. Now you too will be part of the president’s vision for “shared responsibility.”

Some of you are thinking, “But I don’t have any money or a job in this lousy economy.” Not to worry, the ACA provides taxpayer-financed subsidies for low-income workers. And if you can’t find a job, ACA expands Medicaid, a welfare program, to millions of Americans.

And you shouldn’t feel bad about having to take welfare even though you have a college degree; that’s the old way of thinking. Today, 49 percent of Americans get some type of subsidy from the government, and ObamaCare—the president actually likes that name—puts another 40 million or so on federal dole.

The old American Dream was to get a good job and travel up the ladder of prosperity. The new American Dream is to get government help, paid for by someone who actually made it up that ladder.

The reason we are forcing you to have coverage is that a lot of young people choose not to. And we decided the easiest way to do that is to require health insurers to let you jump on and off your parents’ policy until you turn 26—even though the vast majority of policies already allowed you to stay on until age 24 or 25 as long as you were considered a dependent.

The best way to keep you from being too independent is to keep you dependent—on your parents or the government.

If you choose to be unpatriotic and remain uninsured, you will be hearing from the IRS, which is charged with monitoring ObamaCare compliance and imposing penalties (or a tax, according to Justice Roberts). And as you may have gleaned from recent news stories about the IRS targeting certain groups, those IRS agents can make your life miserable.

Finally, no health insurer can turn you down because of a pre-existing condition. Of course, very few did anyway because they want young people in their health insurance pool. And nearly every state had a safety-net program for those who were turned down. But the pre-existing condition issue registered best in the polls, so we had to claim we fixed it.

We know that some of you still may not be convinced, and we want to hear from you. We have moved a number of people from our IRS non-profit section to a new college-compliance section. Just contact them at the IRS; they are eager to know who you are.