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This much is certain, though: Things are not going well for Obamacare. Just over 100,000 people signed up for new insurance in October--1.5% of the 7 million that the government hopes to have by March 31, the end of the open-enrollment period. In the program's first month, the AP reported, just four people (!) enrolled under the Affordable Care Act in Delaware (which, like 35 other states, is using the dysfunctional federal exchange hosted at HealthCare.gov) And if Kentucky's state-run exchange is any indication, young people in particular are avoiding Obamacare. The Wall Street Journal reported that about 4,600 people signed up for insurance in the Bluegrass State during October. Out of that total, just 24% were 34 and under, and the rest were 35 to 64. (People older than 64 go directly into Medicare.)
There's no reason to believe that even the greatest ad campaign in the world will jack up the youth numbers to where they need to be. Yes, young people foolishly believe themselves to be indestructible. But the actuarial truth is that most of them won't ever need the sort of wide-ranging benefits mandated by Obamacare.
And given Obamacare's ban on excluding people with pre-existing conditions and the relatively small financial penalties for not having insurance, the smart move for many people--whether young or old--is to wait until you actually need health care before shelling out for monthly premiums.
Younger Americans may indeed be reckless enough to do keg stands and have unprotected sex on a regular basis, but they're not so dumb as the "Got Insurance?" ads--or the architects of Obamacare--seem to think.n
Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and a co-author of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America