A new poll shows 28 percent of uninsured Americans intend to pay a fine rather than enroll in a plan. as required by the Affordable Care Act. Gallup polled 655 adults - 81 percent of whom knew about Obamacare's individual mandate and the fine for avoidance - and asked them what action they would take: about 63 percent said they planned to enroll.
In 2014 those who defy the individual mandate will pay $95 or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is more.
If these consumers abide by their intentions it would jeopardize President Barack Obama's vision of universal coverage. It could also mean higher premiums for other enrolled patients, since providers contain risk by spreading it around. Much of the recent focus on the Affordable Care Act enrollments has targeted young adults, or "young invincibles", who according to critics will bear the cost burden for seniors.
According to the poll, however, there was only a small distinction - 4 percent - between the number of adults younger than 30 who would choose the fine over enrollment and adults older than 30 who would make the same choice. Political leaning was a much stronger predictor of subjects' intentions, with 45 percent of Republicans and 15 percent of Democrats saying they would choose the fine.
Michael Robertson, an internet entrepreneur, writing for Voices of San Diego said he would rather be fined than pay a family premium that is 58 percent higher than his original health care plan. Robertson's income is too high to enable him to receive government subsidies.
"Of course without insurance, I will not be covered for any medical conditions and there's a risk, albeit small, of a medical calamity. If this were to happen, I could sign up for a plan at a later date since insurance companies cannot ban people for a pre-existing condition," he wrote.
Christina Martin, is a pro-life advocate who works two part-time jobs, neither of which provides health insurance. Cost is certainly a concern, she said, but her decision not to enroll in a plan is primarily motivated by personal convictions.
"I'm not declaring that being pro-life means not purchasing Obamacare; people express their pro-life beliefs in a number of ways," she said in a post on Live Action News, a pro-life, youth-led media publication, "What I am saying is that I couldn't live with myself if I accepted a health care plan that glorifies free birth control and trivializes abortion. I'd rather pay a fine than live with regrets in my heart."
Other consumers weighed in on Twitter.
@bellskp refers to Obama as a dictator and tweets: "Not one person I know is signing up."
@chucktodd Not one person I know is signing up for Obamacare.They will all pay the fine in defiance to dictator Obama
— karen (@libertybellskp) December 2, 2013
Another twitter user, @Rockwithbeck, claims Obamacare premiums will cost young people double. "PAY THE FINE!" he shouts.
What do the 'young' get when they sign up for 'OBAMACARE' ? Their premiums will cost them double. PAY THE FINE!
— ROCKWITHBECK (@ROCKWITHBECK) November 29, 2013
And @CascadeGOP echoes Robertson, tweeting that if Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions and people can sign up at anytime, why should anyone bother now.
Question: If you can sign up for Obamacare at anytime & it covers pre-existing conditions. Why not pay the fine & buy it when you need it?
— U.S. BRAIN SEQUESTER (@CascadeGOP) December 4, 2013
According to CNN, 100,000 people signed up for Obamacare through healthcare.gov website in November and roughly one-quarter of that number signed up in October, but even combined with the state exchange numbers, enrollments are still far short of Obama's original two-month target of enrolling 800,000 people in new plans.
About 29,000 people have enrolled in the two days following repairs to the website, a source familiar with the enrollment numbers told CNN, but added "the data is still being scrubbed."