President Obama has ordered his Cabinet officials to praise Obamacare when giving speeches at college commencement ceremonies, even as the president’s aides fear that poor implementation of the law will tarnish his legacy.
“To counter the criticism, the White House has told all Cabinet members and senior officials to use commencement speeches to drive home for graduating college students and their parents the benefits they gain from a provision of the law that allows young adults to stay on their family’s insurance plans until they turn 26,” Bloomberg reports.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did her part to tout the law to young people Thursday. “That’s a big thing for a young person coming out of school,” she said of the new rule allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance policies during her weekly press briefing. “We just think it’s really going to be liberating.”
Obama’s team fears what young people will do what the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate could not: cripple the law by refusing to participate in the health insurance exchanges.
“Here is the specific problem: Insurance companies worry that young people, especially young men, already think they are invincible, and they are bewildered about the health-care reform in general and exchanges in particular,” Ezekiel Emanuel, the president’s health policy czar during the Obamacare debate, wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week. “They may tune out, forego purchasing health insurance and opt to pay a penalty instead when their taxes come due. The consequence would be a disproportionate number of older and sicker people purchasing insurance, which will raise insurance premiums and, in turn, discourage more people from enrolling. This reluctance to enroll would damage a key aspect of reform.”