Useless GOP Health Care Repeal Efforts Most Harmful to Young People

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After the stirring job-creation effort put up by the new Republican-controlled U.S. House majority by reading the Constitution, Paul Ryan’s gang was going to have to really stretch to out-do that bit of uselessness.

Turns out, they are more than up to that challenge.

Today, the new Boehnerites in the GOP House Majority are wasting tax dollars today to put up a symbolic and useless fight against the modest federal health insurance reform act, passed in the spring of 2010.

They will lose. But it’s telling how determined they are to make the lot of us once-again beholden to the health insurance cartel.

In honor of this, One Wisconsin Now proudly reprints an editorial authored by two of our former interns, William Barnes and Porter Pearce, who laid out exactly why this reform was so important — particularly for young people.

To our millennial readers, enjoy…and be outraged by the travesty of today’s House theater.

By Porter Pearce and William Barnes, April 1, 2010

With the billions bandied in bailouts for Wall Street and the auto industry after our country’s economic collapse, many university and technical college students were left asking, “Where does that leave me?” And until recently, the answer was in an ocean of ever-rising tuition bills and a desert of diminishing job opportunities.

Passage of the Affordable Health Care Act of America, however, not only will ensure more than 30 million additional Americans receive health care, but also college students will have a needed safety net to give us some peace of mind as we navigate this treacherous economic landscape.

The health care reform provides unprecedented advantages to young adults both in college or slowly entering the workforce. Prior to President Barack Obama’s health care reform bill, students were dropped from their parents’ health care plans upon graduation or at age 23. Once off, those students would have two options upon graduation: scramble for the first job with any form of health benefits, or go without health care and risk preventative care as well as a financial catastrophe.

No longer. Thanks to health care reform, young adults can remain on their parents’ plans until age 26 and insurance providers cannot drop those young adults if they get sick and insurers cannot cap the amount they will pay for medical expenses.

Also, by 2014, single, uninsured adults making below 133% of the poverty level will be eligible for Medicaid.

Finally, as of 2014, single, uninsured adults making below four times the poverty level will be able to receive subsidies to buy insurance from a state health exchange, which will offer several competitive private plans.

Not only will this health care reform greatly help college students directly; it also will help them indirectly by aiding small businesses in providing coverage for their employees. Small businesses make up 76% of businesses in Wisconsin, which means that many of the companies who will employ these students are in the small-business bracket.

Until now, skyrocketing health care costs made it so a mere 38% of Wisconsin small businesses were able to offer health insurance to employees in 2008. With this law in place, as many as 77,000 additional Wisconsin small businesses will be able to offer coverage through small business tax credits that will make premiums more affordable.

Also, companies with fewer than 100 employees will have the option of buying from their state health exchange, which may give them better alternatives to buying directly from private insurance companies.

With this law in place, undergraduates and recent graduates now will have additional flexibility to get their feet planted, find a job and have access to health insurance, therefore saving them from the worry that any unforeseen medical or personal accident could financially cripple them for the rest of their lives.

With the Affordable Health Care Act of America, we have a law that will give fundamental safeguards to the students of America, affording us much-needed peace of mind in a time of such uncertainty.

Well said, today, as it was then.

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Scot Ross served as Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now & the Institute from 2007 to 2019.