Young people have always been a primary target in the Republican fight against the Affordable Care Act. They've released creepy ads telling young people to “opt out” of Obamacare, and their latest gimmick to try and attract young people is an RNC ad buy during The Daily Show.
However, the GOP appears to be fighting a losing battle on young adults and the ACA. That's because a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services has found that “approximately 46 percent of single, uninsured young adults living in 34 of the states with a federal Obamacare marketplace will be able to purchase basic health coverage for less than $50 per month after factoring in federal tax subsidies.” That's nearly half of of uninsured young adults who will now be able to afford at least a basic “Bronze” plan from the ACA marketplaces.
Read about why this is important for the ACA's success after the jump.In addition, there's an even greater number of young adults who are eligible for coverage for less than $100 a month from the ACA marketplace. According to the HHS report, “”Of [the 2.9 million]potentially Marketplace-eligible uninsured single young adults, approximately 1.9 million… may be able to pay $100 or less per month in 2014.” All in all, that's close to two-thirds of young adults in the 34 states with federal marketplaces who will qualify for health coverage for $100 a month or less.
This is good news both for young people and for the overall success of the Affordable Care Act. Young people are key to the success of the ACA. When young, healthy people enroll in insurance coverage, it helps to offset the cost of older, sicker patients. Healthy young adults are even more important now that the ACA prohibits discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. This is why the Republicans had their sights set on young people to try and derail Obamacare–and why more affordable coverage for young adults will make the GOP's task more difficult than ever.
The HHS report also found that one million young adults will be eligible for discounted coverage due to Medicaid expansion. However, had all of the 34 states with federal ACA marketplaces chosen to cooperate with Medicaid expansion, that number would have been 6.2 million young people. This includes Texas, where Rick Perry's refusal to accept funding for Medicaid expansion means that up to 2 million Texans will remain uninsured.
Nonetheless, this latest news is good for young adults. Despite technical difficulties with the Healthcare.gov website, the majority of people who tried to visit it last month have said they'll keep trying until they enroll in a plan. Though the Obama administration still has a way to go before it enrolls as many young people as it needs to, the news that most people's premiums will be low is sure to help. More young adults will be able to afford insurance coverage, keeping them prepared to maintain their health.