The Affordable Care Act: What the Millennial Generation is Saying
Posted on February 11, 2014
It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? A healthcare system that takes care of all constituents. No American without medical insurance, improved health care quality and patient safety, an increase in preventative care, and lower healthcare costs for the whole country. Who wouldn’t want that?
But what about the increased premiums to cover the costs of those who still can’t pay for insurance? And fees for those who refuse to buy insurance? Higher taxes? Fewer options? A 60+day wait to see the doctor? Deductibles increasing by 500% or more?
Is all of that worth it?
I recently engaged in a short and fairly friendly debate with a friend over the Affordable Care Act. She saw only the potential benefits. I saw only the immediate drawbacks and possible future ones. So it made me curious. What are other members of the millennial generation saying about the ACA? How has it affected them so far, and what are their feelings about it?
What I found was a primarily negative response. Here are some of their answers.
- Kendra, 26, is currently searching for a new private health insurance plan. She can barely afford her current plan. Fortunately, in her search on healthcare.gov (which she compliments as being fairly user-friendly), she found that she qualifies for a government subsidy that will keep her new premium around the same amount as her old premium. However, she says none of the new options are as good as the plan she is currently on and she would rather not have the government involved in her health care.
- Jeff, 30, has been putting off buying health insurance because he’s worried about what he’s heard about paying higher taxes for health insurance that he doesn’t feel he needs or paying a fee for not getting insurance. He’s not excited about being forced to pay for a plan, no matter how cheap it might be.
- Lindsey, 22, has excellent health and does not want to purchase health insurance because it’s expensive. She’s annoyed at the prospect of paying a fee for not buying something that she feels she doesn’t need.
- Taylor, 21, is very frustrated that she has been kicked off of her parents’ health plan 5 years before she should have been. Her mother’s employer dropped all health insurance coverage for employees due to the increased expense. Her parents are now shopping for private insurance and only qualify for $10,000 deductibles, compared to the $2,000 deductible they had before. They found that it made more sense for each family member to have their own insurance plan, which means Taylor and her 18-year-old brother will have to come up with monthly premiums even though the ACA should have helped them out by extending their coverage under their parents’ insurance until age 26.
- Michelle and Janet, both 24 years old, are mothers. Both have working husbands and both expressed the desire to stay at home with their children, but feel they can’t afford it because of health insurance costs. Janet’s husband has family coverage through his employer, but the premium is so high that Janet has to work part time so they can afford it. Michelle just had her second child and also has to work to afford insurance for her family of four.
- Chris, 26, is frustrated because he has a health care plan that he is happy with, but under the ACA he won’t be allowed to keep that plan. He has researched his options, and he will have to pay double what he is paying now for a new plan.
Of the people I interviewed, only a couple had positive things to say.
- Bri, 27, wishes the ACA had been in effect when she got married so that she wouldn’t have been kicked off her parents’ insurance and have gone 3 years without insurance. She is grateful that under the ACA her sister, 22, could augment her insurance before she had her first baby and spent a lot of time in the hospital due to complications.
- Jeff, though he doesn’t like the idea of being forced to pay for a plan, thinks that the bright side to the ACA will be not having to think too much about how to set up a healthcare plan.
This is not an official study. I wasn’t able to extensively interview hundreds of people. But I did ask young adults from different states, conservative and liberal alike, and their responses are telling. Most are stressed and annoyed with the ACA and see no real benefit. Those who are positive about it are few, and most cite what they’ve been told the benefits will be.
Health Care for All
Of course, Bri’s sister’s situation brings up the question, “Isn’t the life of a baby worth it? When you read that, don’t you want everyone to have health care?” Of course it is worth it. Of course everyone should have access to health care. But that was never the issue. Those who need healthcare are not turned away because of their insurance situation. They do have the terrible task of figuring out how to pay for the care they received, but they had options. And does that make it fair to force Americans to absorb the costs of everyone who can’t afford health care (more than we already were), whether they need it or not?
No Simple Solution
My high school history teacher always said, “There are no simple solutions to complex problems.” I firmly believe that. I don’t think that there is a fix-all answer to the issue of healthcare. But it is important to acknowledge the negative impact the ACA has had so far and consider whether it is worth the toll it is taking on Americans.
Studies show that Americans’ reactions to the ACA change significantly depending on the wording of the information they receive. Instead of listening to rhetoric, let’s pay attention to the facts. Whether you learn about the ACA and related topics from internet research, news radio, or talking to Newmarket lawyers about health law, find a way to educate yourself about the issues. We may not be able to find a simple solution, but we should look for an informed one.
Edson Senna is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about law and business. He enjoys learning more about health law from companies like SBMB Law. In his spare time Edson enjoys running, reading, and biking.