1-4-14 – ObamaCare Decision Making

by John McClaughry

Last June Megan McArdle of The Atlantic shared a pastor’s portrait of the decision-making of some ordinary middle income Americans who are now facing ObamaCare enrollment.

The pastor, who regularly counsels families on spiritual and economic matters, said, “ObamaCare seems completely divorced from how these median Americans function on a daily basis. It assumes rational people who can make good financial decisions. Instead, what you have is people with $100,000 in school debt , who are leasing a new car, who have at least 3 credit cards maxed,  and yet find cable with HBO and an iPhone 5 with all-you-can-eat plan necessities. “

“It’s not that on a median salary it is not possible to live a good and prudent life; it just requires some restraint and a minimum amount of simple rules. But the ACA mandate and cost is going to mean to many of these people: do I keep HBO & Cable, my iPhone, or buy medical insurance? They will refuse to even think about that.”

“On top of that, they think Obamacare means  “free health care”. When you tell them that Obamacare will cost them at least 4% of their income, they go into denial. For a large minority of people, opting out probably won’t even be a conscious choice. It will just happen because of the complexity, the upfront sticker cost and the lack of ability to make good financial decisions.”

Is it any wonder that ObamaCare – and Vermont Health Connect as well – is working so poorly?

John McClaughry is the founder and current vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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