Priebus slammed by actuaries

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An organization representing the country’s actuaries is hitting back at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for claiming they conspired to “screw young people over” while designing ObamaCare.

Priebus boldly predicted a Republican “tsunami” in the 2014 midterm elections at a Christian Science Monitor event on Tuesday, but his remarks aimed at actuaries went largely unnoticed.

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“ObamaCare was intentionally designed to screw young people over,” he said. “I mean, actuaries sat down in a room and figured out how they were going to pay for this monstrosity of a program, and they decided, let's just screw over everyone who is 35 or younger. And that's what they did."

The American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) shot back late Wednesday in a statement saying the chairman’s allegations were nothing more than “political rhetoric meant to elicit attention.”

“The characterization of actuaries in those remarks cannot be taken seriously,” the group said.

Many actuaries were called in to provide technical expertise while Congress deliberated over the Affordable Care Act. The AAA said the actuaries that provided input did so in an “objective, non-partisan voice” based on the “complicated interactions” of the law’s various measures.

“The actuarial profession produces objective analysis of risks and costs based on actuarial principles, and actuaries are bound by a code of professional conduct that includes the requirement that their work must be done within the parameters set by the laws of our nation, as well as rigorous actuarial standards of practice Academy members, both in the public and private sectors, serve as the objective, non-partisan voice of the U.S. actuarial professional in matters of public policy and actuarial professionalism.”

The Obama administration is engaged in a last-minute public relations blitz ahead of the March 31 enrollment deadline to get as many young people signed up on the exchanges as possible.

The Department of Health and Human Services said earlier this month that the number of 18- to 34-year-olds held steady in February at 27 percent and remains at 25 percent overall. The administration has long-expected the number of young enrollees to increase in March.

ObamaCare needs as many healthy enrollees as possible to maintain a balanced risk pool that keeps premiums from spiking in 2015. That makes young people, who skew healthier, the most critical demographic for the administration in the final stages of the first open enrollment.