Thanks to the landmark 2010 health care reform law, approxmately, 6.6 million young adults signed up for health coverage through their parents' insurance plans in the first year after a new provision in the federal health law took effect, according to estimates in a study released late last week. As part of the law, most insurance plans offered by employers to their workers had to allow parents to enroll dependents on their plans up to the age of 26, starting in September 2010. Previously, parents had been able to include children only up to their 19th birthdays, or until the age of 22 if the children were full-time college students.
According to a new Gallup survey, the uninsured rate for people age 18-25 continues to decline, down to 23 percent from 28 percent when the law took effect. This provision of Obama Care is so helpful that even Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) used his taxpayer financed health insurance coverage with the U.S. Senate to insure his 23 year old daughter.
Yet Scott Brown and the Nebraska Republicans support the complete repeal of Obama Care. Mike Johanns, Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith and Lee Terry have all voted to repeal Obama Care. In addition, Deb Fischer is on record in favor of the repeal of the 2010 health care reform law. It should also be noted here that these Republicans have yet to come up with the coherent and comprehensive "replace" bill that they promised three years ago.
Just what would be the consequences of the repeal of Obama Care? For starters, 6.6 million young people would lose their health insurance coverage. (This probably wouldn't be a hardship for Brown since he is a very wealthy man who would be in a position to purchase alternative coverage for his daughter.)
Another consequence of the repeal of this popular provision would be that this would cause parents' taxes to go up. Economist Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute says many parents would pay higher taxes as a result because they would have to pay for the young adult's coverage with after-tax dollars. Under the health care law, that coverage now comes out of pre-tax dollars. Fronstin says there's no way to tell exactly how much that tax increase might be, but a couple of hundred dollars a year or more is a reasonable ballpark estimate. Upper-income taxpayers would have a greater liability.
I would also like to mention that if Obama Care is repealed, seniors with high prescription costs in Medicare's "donut hole" coverage gap could lose annual discounts averaging about $600. Moreover, a repeal of Obama Care would suspend benefits for preventive care with no co-payments, now available to retirees and working families alike.
Once again, I would like to thank Senator Ben Nelson for voting for the health care reform law in 2010. Senator Nelson paid a big political price for that vote but it was the right decision. Moreover, I would like to praise Senator Nelson because he continues to defend that vote and Obama Care in general.
This is the kind of message that we Democrats need to get out about Obama Care. This landmark law is already working and doing a lot of good. In my opinion, once the American people learn more about this law, support for it will increase. That's why the Republicans are so desperate to repeal before it takes effect in 2014.
If I am elected Second Associate Chair of the NDP, I will publicize this kind of good news far and wide. If more people learn about our successes, we will win more elections.