Watchdog.org's 3-Person Poll Concludes Young Americans Don't Want Insurance

Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

Watchdog.org's Florida bureau concluded young Americans would rather pay a penalty than pay insurance premiums based on a backward reading of a poll conducted by Reuters, choosing to instead rely on the experiences of its "small sampling" of young people.

The October 4 post attempted to prove that young Americans would prefer paying a penalty for not having insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rather than paying insurance premiums for coverage. The post relied on a survey of an undisclosed amount of young people, and chose to report three negative responses as evidence of youth resistance to the ACA (emphasis added):

Obamacare "only works ... if young people show up."

That's from former President Bill Clinton in a recent MSNBC interview.

It's why Obamacare supporters and government agencies are trying everything from sports advertising to video contests to get young people in the game.

But will those millions of Millennials show up and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act?

A recent Reuters poll found Obamacare may not attract enough young people to keep costs low for others. And according to our small sampling, the answer would be no.

The poll reported by Reuters and cited by Watchdog appeared in an article titled, "Insight: Poll shows healthy young adults may keep Obamacare afloat," and contradicts much of what Watchdog claims (emphasis added):

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,053 uninsured Americans, and detailed interviews with 51 of the respondents, shows that Kormick is not an outlier: Obamacare may attract enough of the young healthy adults it needs to buy insurance to offset the costs of covering sicker Americans and keep the system afloat financially.

[...]

"Contrary to commonly held beliefs, young adults do want affordable health coverage," said Dr David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit that studies healthcare systems.

The young demographic is so pivotal to the success of Obamacare that one of the law's fiercest opponents, the libertarian group FreedomWorks,  is running a campaign on social and traditional media aimed at persuading Americans in their 20s not to buy insurance on the exchanges.

Instead of accurately reporting the results of the Reuters survey, Watchdog continued to make its case by citing interviews with three members of the target age group. Despite being an inefficient sample size to draw conclusions, the three selected were poorly chosen to answer the questions of whether they would join the exchanges, as two of the responders reported they already had health insurance through an employer or parent.

Conservative groups have targeted young people as a key demographic in shaping the success or failure of the ACA. As noted by Reuters, FreedomWorks -- a Tea-Party affiliated non-profit that is partially funded by tobacco giant Philip Morris - has been a major contributor to the anti-insurance campaign. Watchdog is affiliated with FreedomWorks through its parent organization, the Franklin Center.  

Watchdog, along with other Franklin Center affiliates, continue to target state media and promote conservative ideology. When it comes to reporting on the ACA, Watchdog has a track record of misinformation and manipulation

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
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State Media
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