Van Hollen Highlights What Health Care Reform Means for Young Americans

Today, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Assistant to the Speaker, was joined by Rock the Vote, United States Students Association, YouthBuild Alumni Council, and U.S. PIRG to discuss why health care reform is vital for young Americans. 

“Millions of young Americans do not have access to affordable health insurance. Our plan will finally change that and prevent those just entering the workforce from having no health coverage or being saddled with debt during a health crisis,” said Van Hollen.  “As we heard today young people across the country strongly support reform and are committed to making it a reality.  I look forward to working with them on our fight to pass health insurance reform that will reduce costs, increase competition, and ensure all Americans have access to care.”

“Young people have the most to gain from the successful reform of the health insurance system – and the most to lose from failure. Young Americans are the most uninsured age group and struggle with the high costs and inaccessibility of the current system. Not surprisingly, this age group is the most supportive of the public option and other critical measures under consideration in Congress. This is our fight, too,” added Thomas Bates, Vice President of Civic Engagement of Rock the Vote.

Abby Berendt Lavoi, a member of U.S. PIRG, shared her personal story at today’s event. “I want to share my story with all Americans as health care reform affects everyone – young and old. Young people are not immune to this crisis. I had a job. Along with many other young adults, I thought I would be ok. But $12,000 in medical bills later I found out I was not alone. Health care reform needs to happen so that every American has access to the care they need,” she said.

“The high costs and inaccessibility of health insurance for youth in this country is a grave concern, especially for students who are working numerous jobs, graduating with high amounts of debt and into a jobless economy,” said Gregory Cendana, President of the United States Students Association.  “We are relying on our elected officials to come together and pass a bill on this non-partisan issue, taking a lead from Healthcare and Education Champion Senator Edward M. Kennedy and put the lives and needs of America’s future first.”

“In poor communities like mine, young people worry about making ends meet and that especially includes getting health care,” says Nina Saxon, Vice President of YouthBuild’s National Alumni Council. “If we had better access to affordable, high-quality, preventive health care, our lives would change and the whole community would benefit.”

Health Care Reform: What’s In It For Young Americans?


Preventive Care for Better Health:  Health insurance reform offers free prevention to all insured people and invests in public health to create a system that prevents illness and disease instead of just treating it when it’s too late and costs more. Simple prevention can prevent a small health problem from getting worse.

Insurance Industry Reforms that Save You Money:  Puts a cap on what insurance companies can force you to pay in out of pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles. It eliminates yearly and life-time limits on how much insurance companies cover if you get sick.


One-Stop Shopping – Putting You in Charge:  Health reform will create a health insurance exchange for those who don’t get insurance through their employer, so you can simply and easily compare prices and health plans and decide which quality affordable option is right for you. It’s your choice.

Insurance Security as you Begin Your Career:   The typical young adult frequently changes jobs, moves, or holds part-time or temporary jobs. Under reform, it doesn’t matter – you will always have choices of quality, affordable health insurance.


Health Care When You Need It Most:  Young adults are just starting jobs and careers, and often don’t have access to job-based coverage. Even when they do, they often don’t have the money to spend on expensive health insurance. Health care reform will offer health insurance to those without job-based coverage and provide premium assistance to those who still can’t afford it.