Home Section D - Opinion The Affordable Care Act is a Win for Young Americans

The Affordable Care Act is a Win for Young Americans


Emma Webb

Staff Writer

To commemorate the second anniversary of President Obama signing the new health care law, Students for Barack Obama hosted their own healthcare event last Saturday. Students distributed and dorm-stormed informational flyers on the health care bill with Band-Aids attached. Most students took the flyer and moved on, some were extremely supportive, and some just wanted the Band-Aid.  Many students did not realize what is in the bill and how they are already benefiting from it. Despite what many students on campus might think, young people have much to gain from this landmark legislation.

First and foremost, the President’s health reforms let us stay on our parents’ plans until we turn 26. This means we do not have to compromise our dreams and take a job just because we need the insurance. It means if we want to take some time off to see the world or figure out what we want to do next, we do not have to worry about the financial burden of being uninsured.
At the same time, preventive services like counseling, flu shots, and cancer screenings are now available for free under all insurance plans – no co-pay, no deductible. Women can get free mammograms and cervical cancer screenings, and soon birth control too.
Thanks to the new law, our healthcare system is fairer. Everyone can get quality and affordable health insurance, and insurance companies cannot discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. This means those of us who were born with asthma or diabetes cannot be discriminated against when we do move off our parents’ plans. It also means that insurance companies cannot charge women more than men for the same health coverage. Insurance companies used to consider being born a girl a preexisting condition – that has changed.

President Obama’s health reforms eliminate lifetime caps, which means we do not have to worry about exhausting our insurance coverage if something unexpected and terrible happens – like a car accident or cancer. That is what health insurance is for, and now it will be there for us when we need it most.

Health reform has been a real win for our generation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.5 million more young adults already have health insurance thanks to the new law. By 2014, it will provide quality, affordable health coverage to more than 12 million young people. That is just the beginning.

The debate over health reform was long and hard fought. Many young Americans stopped paying attention, assuming that whatever passed would not help us. However, the health care bill has helped young people by leaps and bounds. In 2008, President Obama promised to make health care fair and affordable for all. He has kept his word.

The need for this law seems is obvious to me. I am lucky to have health insurance, and I would venture to say the same about most students at Roanoke College. Although they are not foremost in my mind, I have seen the dangers of living without health insurance firsthand.

I spent a frantic and restless night with one of my best friends in the parking lot of the emergency room as she writhed in pain from ovarian cysts. She could not go into the building because of how much emergency room visit would cost to her family. My neighbor cut her finger open making Christmas dinner and without health insurance it cost her $1600 to get three stitches. My uncle has gone untreated for a heart attack because his immediate family does not have health insurance. All of that has changed for the better now.
As an American, I can trust that I will not be discriminated against because of my gender, age, or preexisting conditions and I will be taken care of when I get sick. As a daughter, I can rest easy knowing my parents and grandparents will be taken care of regardless of where life leads. As a college student, I can spend my time worrying about schoolwork and my career dreams– not about health insurance.