This is an interesting piece of news and one that may oddly add another tie between Obamacare and student loans. We reported here previously that a certain percent of student loan profits are being invested in the Affordable Care Act, but this other tie may be of more benefit to in-debt students and graduates. However, since the announcement came from Rush Limbaugh on his talk show, we may need to take it with a grain of salt (even if our fingers are crossed that it comes true).
A growing number of young Americans are frustrated with Obamacare and are not enrolling in the numbers needed for the system to work. In order to subsidize the coverage costs of older and unhealthier Americans, all of the young healthy people that don’t really utilize insurance must enroll in the health exchanges for the costs to work out. But these young people can ill afford the high premiums the exchanges are demanding.
So how does Rush Limbaugh fit into this? A caller to his talk show theorized that to entice younger people into enrolling rather than facing the cheaper option of the tax for not signing up, Obama would raise the minimum wage. It’s true he has been a supporter of increasing minimum wage, but “El Rushbo” – as the conservative commentator likes to call himself – says it’s another incentive that the President has in mind.
Limbaugh cited a Harvard poll that indicates that 29% (or less) of those under 30 with no insurance could enroll. Just 13% say they definitely planned to enroll and another 16% said they would “probably” enroll. As a side note, the poll revealed that when the program is referred to as the “Affordable Care Act” rather than “Obamacare,” the result drops to 25% (10% definitely will enroll and 15% said they would probably enroll). Strange…
After discussing the poll, Limbaugh said in order to get the needed enrollments, “He’ll find a way to buy them off. I have no doubt that Obama and his strategists are, right now, trying to come up with ideas. Just like they have a miniature bailout of the insurance companies to keep them on board during all this, they’ll conjure a way to buy these people, something to give them.”
So what’s the big idea Rush thinks is brewing? The talk show host said, “One of the ways Obama will try to buy the Millennials back to get his poll numbers up, is to forgive student loans. It’s just sitting out there on a silver platter, just waiting for Obama to do it. It’s the Chicago way!”
I would be interested in seeing some numbers on how the conservative pundit thinks this is possible. For all those in over their heads with student loans, loan forgiveness in exchange for signing up for health insurance (even if it’s overpriced) seems like a deal.
But no matter what happens with the Affordable Care Act, I can’t imagine that the budget could take the hit of $1 trillion of student loans. Perhaps only those in that critical under-30 demographic would be targeted – or those earning less than a certain wage. I’m not much for taking stock in heated talk show predictions, but we can all keep our fingers crossed that perhaps some measure of debt relief could be tied to the ACA to give cash-strapped borrowers a break…
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