Students must keep an eye on the ongoing health care debate.
On Wednesday, Jan. 19, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the new legislation that, among other things, allowed young adults up to age 26 to receive health insurance from their parents’ plans.
The 245-to-189 vote, which included three Democrats and 242 Republicans in the majority, made way for House Republicans’ initiative to replace the Democrats’ previous plan, nicknamed “Obamacare.” The previous plan required all United States citizens to purchase health insurance and disabled insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
But students shouldn’t tune out the political rhetoric upon hearing, “health care until age 26.” Students should be informed and prepared to act accordingly for whatever new coverage status the legislation might bring.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, young adults account for 26.4 percent of unemployed U.S. citizens. Without coverage as part of an employment benefits package, more than 1.2 million young adults could potentially lose their insurance coverage from their parents’ plans without the current version of the Affordable Care Act, according to HealthCare.gov.
“Today, the American people have greater health security than they did a year ago. Because of the Affordable Care Act, Americans no longer have to live in fear that insurance companies will drop or cap their coverage if they get sick, or that they’ll face double-digit premium increases with no accountability or recourse,” President Barack Obama said in a statement on Jan. 18. “So I’m willing and eager to work with both Democrats and Republicans to improve the Affordable Care Act. But we can’t go backward.”
While the left might see the repeal as regression and the overall right see it as a step toward progress, there’s one thing both sides can agree on – any time a partisan bill is repealed by the opposite party, progress for either side is slow and painful until a compromise can be settled.
As lawmakers push and pull over the plan’s details, students should keep a close eye on health care headlines in the upcoming months. Without knowing the full extent of your rights, you could be left paying triple digits for a routine checkup.