By: Gary Larson

Putting "dependent children," meaning young adults, under the FAR-outspread wings of their parents' health insurance policies, at least until age 26, is now a mandated option under Obamacare. Living with mommy and daddy, or NOT. . . being married, or NOT, they are eligible now under federal law to be added to "family" coverage.

When do children stop being children? When they inherit the house?

Stretching the federal definition of "children" reflects an ever-growing paternalism, a push back of coming-of-age, delaying adulthood? Time was a young person was "aged out" of family coverage at 19, or when they finished being a full-time student, or at age 21. Not any more.

Costly it will be, but who cares? Parents paying additionally for family coverage will be hit, yet again, for certainly increased premiums, based on cold actuarial numbers. Common sense tells us this, but that's rare commodity today in Foggy Bottom.

Add that to the rising costs of all health insurance (estimated hikes of 10-13% at first, more to come as more goodies kick in), along with untold hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, and you have the ingredients here, if you look real closely, of a financial meltdown and a national disaster. It is some measure of the dim future, with yet untold damage looming by passage of this mammoth health insurance bill. ("Reform health care?" Nope, it's all about who pays for the insurance Health care at present in America is in relatively good shape, thank you.)

All this revamping of health care insurance, mandated and expanded, and still no tort reform? Boggles the mind, what power-mad Democrats are up to, ramming their agenda upon the unwilling while protecting their union friends and trial lawyers. In fall elections, yes, there will be penalties for such excessive laws and protecting friends.

Already "aged out" of parents' plan? The new law says that at policy holders (parents') option, you must be let back, in under the new law. It does not matter if the "child" is a student, or not. Married, or not.. Sort of carte blanche re-entry, and don't even talk about pre-existing conditions.

In six months, "children" up to the magic age 26 --not 19, 21 or 24 -- can, with their parents' okay, stay on the "family" policy. So the dependent kid, forever a child of lesser gods, is encouraged to remain tethered to apron strings. The bill just signed -- to the gushing, ga-ga euphoria of cheerleading liberal news media - is effective in six months. For most plan, that means such available coverage begins in the 2011 plan year.

"Children" then get to go on parents' policies: 1. Rregardless of health condition. (Remember? No pre-existing conditions.) 2. Regardless of marriage status. (Bride or groom come home, again, to live with mommy and daddy? What a deal!.) 3. Regardless of whether or not they are in school, or not, a benchmark of previous plans.

The law refers to "dependent child," but does not define him or her. Does that mean they must be listed on the parents' tax returns? Presumably an army of bureaucrats will dish up reams of Government-speak regulations, clearing up untidy ends, meaning a newly-enlarged Dept. of Education bureaucrats will "make new laws" in the form of all-encompassing rule-making.

The White House website, along with compliant media, calls it "an instant benefit." Forget the consequences. The White House website adds: ""Children [sic] would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26." Children?

Thirty states have enacted laws permitting young adults under their parents' policies. Most states say 24, some less, and require student status. In Illinois, such coverage is available to age 30 when a dependent is a veteran. In New Jersey, it's age age 31. Children?

According to CNN, "... children can't have jobs that offer insurance, and they must be claimed as dependents on their parents' taxes." In most states, CNN says, "dependents get booted off mom and dad's health insurance policy as early as age 19."

Under Obamacare, state laws are trumped. Federal law triumphs, Big Brother-like, and state laws squelched, states' rights a thing of the past. "Millions of adult children," says CNN with tacit approval, " will be eligible to be enrolled in their parents' group health plan." Whoopie!

No mention is made, or even estimated, of costs. Anyway, all that lies in the future. Good Things apparently are free? Manna from heaven? At this point even self-insured (non-group) plans are tagged with this provision of the long-arm grip of Big Government. Who knew?

Indeed, and in words, the new "reform" law provides incentives for a young adult, still "the kid," to remain tied to mommy and daddy's loving care. Certainly there is a psychic cost to all this for the young adult, being treated, even called, a "child," under the law. More work for psychologists in the young adult market?

Disincentives are at work, folks. All the result of the sleazy sausage-making in closed-door meetings, back room deals, blatant bribery for votes, no promised hearings on C-SPAN, no five days posted on the internet, for the public to examine this Frankenstein Monster. Promises? What promises? You know, campaign baloney.

Costs of this largesse, now and in the future, is lost to most Democrats and their putting-down experts, liberal pundits, such as chronic liar Paul Krugman. They have blinders on, or blindfolds, not to see clearly the dark reality. In the fantasy world they inhabit, trees grow money and when shaken, drop benefits. Free lunches, everywhere. Now if we could just find that money tree!

About 30% of the nation's young adults, 19 to 29, are currently uninsured, according to Health Watch.com. Many scarcely need health insurance, being healthy beings - and seemingly, invincible - and choose not to take it. Now they can be fined, and their employers punished, for not bowing down to diktats of the new "reform" law.

In the individual group market, says Dr. John Goodman of the National Center for Pollicy Analysis (at www.ncpa.org) , premiums no doubt will soar. That itself would drive more young people into absorbing penalties for NOT carrying insurance, at least at first, when a skimpy fine of a mere $95 is specified. (And IRS agents are to become premium police. How scary is THAT?) Lateron, heftier fines for not bowing to your government will come later, as a percentage of your income.

Is this country yet, as we celebrate in the anthem, "...the land of the free"? I for one don't think so.

It gets stickier: Two families, not one, could well be covered under the "family" package. When dependent Jane Twentysomething gets pregnant, her coverage under the law, is her parents' plan. Women in Jane's age bracket are in prime child-bearing age. In plain fact, birthrates are highest for women between ages 22 and 26, the decline only after age 30.

Thus Jane Twentysomething's pre-natal and post-natal child-birthing costs would be covered, under her parents' plan, making it a two-fer! Costs could mount momentously, especially if dire complications set in for the new mom or her newborn child. igher premiums for young women on their parents' family plan? No way. Remember, "gender rating" is verboten. It's evil, something like that, to regulators.

For insurers - and pity the whole lot of this vilified class-- they are caught in money traps not of their making. Pay up, they are told. Insurers thus have the largest unfunded mandate in all of history, only exacerbated by this so-called reform" law that contains, incredibly, no tort reform.

Is the object of the Left in this country to bankrupt the present health care system, and replace it with a single-payer system? Could be. Getting the camel's nose under the tent is just the first step. Taking down the present American system from the inside, driving up its costs, inducing more dependency on Big Government, are sure signs for a pathway to socialism, and ultimately, to serfdom.

At least sunshine is still free. Young people and the rest of us must pay a 10% "tanning tax" if the tanning salon uses "ultraviolet light." (No kidding! Such is the Kafkaesque nature of the new law. ) But we can achieve that dangeours tan, those of us with pale complexions, by a day at the beach. Free!

Think of it as an open-air, tax-free tanning salon. Absorb lots of Vitamin D in your day at the beach. It's still free, one of the few things untaxed (yet) by liberal Democrats. Stay tuned. Fall elections are just around the corner. Get involved!

"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Gary Larson is a retired association executive and former editor. He is a USAF veteran of the Vietnam War, a former Stars & Stripes reporter and graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of Minnesota. He is a past contributor to Ether Zone.

Gary Larson can be reached at:outing@earthlink.net

Published in the March 31, 2010 issue of  Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 2010 Ether Zone.

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