Flipping The Health Care Reform Narrative

artdoctorvisitgiThe elderly, fearing reduction of their Medicare Advantage coverage, have been pitted against the young in the seemingly endless debate over health care reform. Politicians have historically treasured older voters, but the most recent election demonstrated a marked increase in the number of younger voters. The so-called “young invincibles,” however, appear to be losing out in the overall story of who the health-care crisis affects the most. Ari A. Matusiak, Matthew Segal, and Hilary Doe offer a corrective in a recent Huffington Post article, “Taking Back the Microphone”:

The narrative is plain wrong. Young Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 represent the largest group of uninsured in the country. We have the highest rate of injury-related emergency room visits – seven million in 2005-06 alone. Fifteen percent of us suffer from chronic health problems such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart disease and other conditions requiring regular care. And the rising unemployment rate of our demographic, currently standing at 18.5%–the highest since 1948–puts us at an even greater risk for insufficient health care coverage. Only 50% of young Americans receive health care through an employer, compared to 75% of people over 30. Of the young Americans who have been affected by job loss, 46% have seen their health coverage disappear. Another 20% of young adults, who have been forced to take part-time jobs that typically do not offer employees health coverage, will likely also remain uninsured.

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