The Norman Transcript

Editorials

October 3, 2013

The young and healthy?

NORMAN — Millions of Americans logged onto government health care exchange websites Tuesday in hopes of signing up for affordable health insurance. As predicted, some of them had trouble logging on because of the high volume.

Also as predicted, the very first to sign up were among the least healthy Americans. Many had chronic illnesses that have gone untreated or are paid out of cash.

One woman interviewed on NPR was paying about $600 a month for her Lupus treatments and found a plan online with a high deductible for about $100 per month.

For the system to work as envisioned, the young and healthy also will need to sign up. A recent poll found that a quarter of the 20-something age people surveyed didn’t think they needed health insurance at this point in their lives.

That may be the undoing of the program, rather than any politics. To pay claims, insurance companies need to be able to spread the liability among healthy ratepayers, too.

If the uninsured sick continue to end up seeking primary care in hospital emergency rooms, we’re no better off than we were before the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

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