03 Oct Health care reforms are working
As expected, the fate of federal health care reforms to improve access and affordability will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which begins its new term today. The Justice Department asked the court last week to review an appellate ruling on Florida’s legal challenge. The stakes are high. As various elements of the law have gone into effect, the benefits are becoming even more obvious. Health insurance security for young adults has markedly increased, and the nightmare scenario of insurance costs rising for seniors in private plans has failed to materialize. The Affordable Care Act is working, and the proof is in the numbers.
It has been a year since the Affordable Care Act allowed parents to keep adult children on their health insurance until age 26. This single change has led to more young adults being covered by health insurance than the law’s supporters even envisioned. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the country had 900,000 fewer uninsured adults ages 19 to 25 in the first quarter of 2011 than it had in the first quarter of 2010. The only valid explanation is the change in law, since the spike comes despite youth unemployment in double digits.
Before the new law, financial constraints and a sense of invulnerability caused 18- to 24-year-olds to be the least likely to obtain health coverage, leaving them open to crushing medical bills in the event of an accident or sudden illness. Now that “least likely” honor has shifted to those in the 25 to 34 age group, who are largely left out of health reform until 2014.