The White House insisted Monday that there had been a “surge” in young Obamacare enrollees, disputing doubts from a Democratic Virginia lawmaker that there wouldn’t be enough millennials signing up “to make this bill work,” reports said.
Retiring Rep. Jim Moran told radio station WAMU in an interview Friday that people under 35 “are less likely to sign up.”
“I think they feel more independent,” he said. “I think they feel a little more invulnerable than prior generations. But I don’t think we’re going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially.”
“I just don’t know how we’re going to do it, frankly,” he added. “If we had a solution, I’d be telling the president right now.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney, though acknowledging Obamacare’s “shaky rollout,” brushed aside Moran’s concern, The Hill reported.
Carney asserted instead that there had been “a significant surge in the percentage of young Americans under 35 enrolling.”
“Those numbers are consistent with what we saw in Massachusetts,” Carney said.
“And if you ask the Republicans in Massachusetts who supported and, in one case signed, into law the health insurance reform, which is the closest thing to a model for the president’s Affordable Care Act, they would say that that worked and that there the percentage of young people who enrolled was adequate.”
Harvard economics professor David Cutler, one of the ACA’s architects, has warned that if too few young people are covered, Obamacare won’t be able to offset the costs of insuring older and sicker Americans, sending the new law into a “death spiral.”
The Hill reported that the Department of Health and Human Services said 30 percent of Obamacare enrollees were 34 and under, and announced last week that 3 million individuals had purchased coverage.
The administration originally estimated 7 million consumers would enroll, with 39 percent ages 18-34, The Hill reported.
In Virginia, WAMU reported, more than 40,000 Virginians signed up for Obamacare; only 27 percent of those were young adults.
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By Cathy Burke