Discrimination And Health Reform

lackofcoverageA new HealthReform.gov report indicates that in 33 states a 22-year-old woman can be charged 50% more for a 22-year-old man's equivalent premium. Which hits home for this particular 22-year-old woman residing in one of the states allowing such discrimination. This inequality is based on more than gender, of course. Age and health conditions also contribute to the increasing costs of coverage and lack thereof.

“Such a premium hike can mean the difference between coverage that is affordable and coverage that is prohibitively expensive,” the report says. President Obama's plan for health reform would prohibit this discrimination as well as coverage denial for any other reason. People within my age cohort listed as dependents under their parents’ plan could stay as such until age 26. Many young people, like me, may be uncertain as to who or where they will be at that age. But under this plan we could feel secure no matter what our status — student or entrepreneur or lawyer or female or anything else. People of my generation, especially, may be on the verge of experiencing unprecedented flexibility within the health care system. Reform could grant us the capacity to move fluidly through different careers and life choices without having to be burdened by the fear – and oftentimes, the reality – that we won’t receive coverage.

A recent Bloomberg poll suggests an overall move in the reform direction. A majority of people surveyed recognized statements like “health care would be rationed,” “health care would become socialized medicine,” and “government money would pay for abortions” as scare tactics. At the same time, however, a little more than half believe that the nation is on the "wrong track." Slightly more than half are also pessimistic that Congress will not pass a health-care overhaul bill by the end of 2009.