Under the heading “Obamacare Doesn’t Screw Young People,” Matt Yglesias admits that ObamaCare over-charges the young in order to under-charge those who are older. But he defends this practice by writing:
Today’s young people will be tomorrow’s old people… today’s 25 year-old is tomorrow’s 55 year-old. Whether the Affordable Care Act is really in the interests of the young cohort just comes down to whether or not it’s a good idea overall.
What’s wrong with this argument? Four things. First, let’s extend the logic a bit. Instead of shoving the cost of the 55-year-old off on the 25-year-old, how about shifting it to 15-year-olds or five-year-olds? Arbitrary redistribution is bad social policy. Second, people in general should pay for what they get. When they don’t, the under-charged will over-insure and the over-charged will under-insure. Third, the average 55-year-old has more income and wealth than the average 25-year-old and thus is better able to pay. Odds are the older person has paid off his mortgage. His kids are likely done with schooling. ObamaCare thus violates the principle of ability to pay. Finally, what is being described here is one more Ponzi scheme under which each generation pays for the previous generation and hopes that the succeeding generation will honor the chain letter. Surely we have enough government sponsored chain letters already.