I won’t bother trying to correct every misleading argument pumped out by Americans for Prosperity about Obamacare, but this one is important. From a press release today: 

[Arkansas AFP Director Jason] Cline explained: “President Obama and his mouthpieces have acknowledged that young people must enroll for ObamaCare to work. At these rates that’s just not going to happen. They’ll pay a fine and then only enroll if and when they actually get sick.” 

This is a complete misunderstanding of how the law works. Open enrollment for the Obamacare plans in 2014 runs through the end of March. If a young person decides to wait “until they actually get sick” they’ll be out of luck until the following year. If they have a medical catastrophe — a cancer diagnosis, or a major car accident — they’ll face the nightmare of navigating the healthcare system without insurance, and potentially face astronomical debts or bankruptcy if they can’t afford to pay for their care out of pocket.


In the following years, the open enrollment period ends in December of the previous year, so someone risking going without insurance would face a full year without coverage if their gamble of staying healthy didn’t pay off.

Young people who don’t already have insurance through an employer or a public program (or — because of Obamacare — through their parents’ plan if they’re 26 or younger) will have a choice. They can choose to go without insurance and pay a fine, and some will make that choice. But they’ll be taking a major risk in doing so. And that’s a piece of information that the folks encouraging people to burn non-existent “Obamacare cards” aren’t bothering to mention. To their shame.