5 Ways Obamacare Will Help Young Americans

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Obamacare has been law since 2010, and upheld by the Supreme Court, but that hasn't stopped Republicans from trying every tactic they can think of to prevent its implementation from being a success. They've tried countless times to repeal the law, but haven't been successful. (Will the 40th time be the charm? Signs point to definitely not.)

So they've decided to try a different approach–counter the Obama administration's youth-targeted public education campaign with misinformation about how the new healthcare law will affect young people.  The party that decisively lost the youth vote in 2012 has tried various ploys to convince young people that they really are hip and cool and definitely not old people who want you to get off their lawn, including this Buzzfeed post, which relies on gifs and not facts to convince young people that Obamacare is bad.  Republicans hope to use the fact that young people are generally healthy to convince them that they don't actually need health insurance, making implementation of the individual mandate more difficult. The GOP recognizes that young people's enrollment in Obamacare is key to keeping premiums down for everyone, so they're trying to stop it. But Obamacare isn't actually bad for young people. If you look at the facts, it's clear that Obamacare will help young people in lots of ways. Here's just a few:

1. You can stay on your parents' insurance until you're 26. This is probably the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's most well-known benefit for young people. Prior to Obamacare, insurance companies could arbitrarily kick young people off their parents' insurance, leaving them uninsured as students or new graduates seeking employment. Since this part of the law went into effect in 2010, over 930,000 young peoplehave received health insurance through their parents' plans. This gives young people more options to pursue different kinds of careers, since they don't have to worry about health insurance right away.

Read about the rest of the ways that Obamacare will help young people after the jump. 2. Medicaid expansion will make it easier for more people to receive coverage. Not everyone's parents have health insurance. This is especially true in Texas, which has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country. Obamacare helps those young people too, by expanding Medicaid coverage to include childless adults. In fact, the Washington Post reported that if every state expanded Medicaid the way the ACA intended, 8 million young people would gain coverage. Unfortunately for Texans, our governor's misguided presidential ambitions mean that millions of young Texans will be left uninsured. This spring, Governor Perry refused over $100 billion in federal funding that would have expanded Medicaid coverage in our state, just so he can keep his anti-Obama Tea Party credentials. When Republicans try to claim that Obamacare isn't working, remember that it's actually the GOP's baseless political obstruction that is keeping millions of Texans from receiving health insurance by denying Medicaid expansion.

3. Tax subsidies will make insurance more affordable. Young people who aren't on their parents' insurance or covered by Medicare will still benefit from Obamacare. The law subsidizes the purchase of private health insurance for individuals making up to 400% of the poverty line. That means individuals earning up to $45,000 will receive tax subsidies to help them buy health insurance–including 9 million young people. And despite GOP claims that Obamacare will raise premiums, a report by the state of California  found that Obamacare subsidies actually lowered premiums by up to 83%. In all, Medicaid expansion and tax subsidies have the potential to bring coverage to 17 million young people.

4. Women will receive more coverage. Obamacare is great for women in lots of ways. ThinkProgress compiled a great list of how Obamacare will benefit women, including the end of gender rating (insurance companies charging more just for being women) and the inclusion of maternity care in health coverage. Birth control is also covered at no extra charge. Since this provision went into effect one year ago, over 27 million women have already benefitted from it. With the Texas Legislature's efforts to make women's healthcare more inaccessible this year, it's important to recognize Obamacare's positive impact on women's access to the healthcare they need.  

5. You can't be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. Some young people inevitably think that since they're healthy now, they don't need to bother with purchasing health insurance. But then they get sick, and all of a sudden health insurance becomes a necessity. Others may face chronic illness from childhood. Before Obamacare, both types of people could be denied coverage because of these pre-existing health conditions. Starting in 2014, it will be illegal to deny coverage to anyone based on a pre-existing condition. This is good news for young and old people alike, as it means that people who need coverage will finally be able to get it.

Obamacare will make it easier and more affordable for young people to get insurance, keeping them healthy. Don't believe the misinformation the GOP will try to spread–when it comes to young people, the Affordable Care Act is definitely a good thing.

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About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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