Passing the Obamacare IQ exam

It has become clear within the past couple of weeks that universities such as Harvard and Yale ought to be sending legions of recruiters to West Virginia. They are after the brightest of Americans, aren’t they?

It’s true that in terms of “book learnin,'” young West Virginians lag behind their peers in many other states. Standardized tests and other measures of education achievement tell us that.

But where it counts – life skills – Mountain State residents of all ages are at the top of the heap. Obamacare has made that apparent.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently released updated enrollment figures for Obamacare health insurance. Now, if you’ve been following the news, you know Obamacare’s architects are counting on lots of young people to enroll, paying higher premiums than are really necessary, to subsidize insurance for older people.

The bottom line is that Obamacare is a really bad deal for most young people, but a better idea for older Americans.

According to the DHHS report, West Virginia has the lowest percentage in the country of young people (17 in the 18-34 age group) signed up for Obamacare. The national average is 25 percent.

We also have the highest percentage (44 in the 55-64 age group) of older people enrolled. The national average is 31 percent.

So, at higher rates than in any other state, both our younger people and our older residents have Obamacare figured out.

It gets better: Part of Obamacare is a requirement that states expand their Medicaid programs, which provide health insurance for low-income people. Some states have not done that, yet (for good reasons).

But West Virginia has complied with the Medicaid mandate. In February, it was revealed about 87,000 of the 130,000 West Virginians eligible have been enrolled. That’s a 70 percent rate – better than most other states. It shows Mountain State residents are sharper than people elsewhere in, well, taking something for nothing.

So, to sum up:

Young West Virginians are smarter than their peers elsewhere.

Older West Virginians are smarter than their peers elsewhere.

So are poor Mountain State residents.

Next time you hear one of those dumb hillbilly jokes, just smile.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike Myer is executive editor of The Intelligencer and the Wheeling News-Register. He can be reached via email at