Young Americans recognize Senate milestone, look forward to even more progress on health reform
The Y.I. Want Change coalition of more than 20 youth organizations applauds the Senate for its historic introduction of comprehensive health care legislation and urges the Senate to go further to make reform a good deal for young Americans. The bill unveiled today extends coverage to millions of the uninsured – a third of whom are 18-34 – and ends discrimination based on pre-existing conditions or gender, caps out-of-pocket expenses, includes a public option, and allows young adults to stay on their parents’ policies until the age of 26.
“Today is another milestone in the long pursuit of quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” said Ari Matusiak, co-founder of the coalition and convening organization, Young Invincibles. “We hope the Senate will continue to stand with young Americans until all of the 18.9 million uninsured members of our generation get the coverage they need and deserve.”
The final Senate bill must address a number of youth groups’ policy priorities, including improving affordability, fixing the catastrophic plans, and eliminating funding for abstinence-only education.
“While we were pleased to see continued strides in improving subsidies for low and moderate income Americans, more must be done to ensure that comprehensive insurance is available to all individuals, from day one, at an affordable price,” said Erica Williams, Deputy Director of Campus Progress. “Over 80 percent of young Americans earn less than $40,000 per year and often do not have access to employer-based coverage. Affordability is key to bringing young adults into the system and to reducing our overall health care costs.”
The Y.I. Want Change coalition continues to be concerned about what began as the so-called “Young Invincible” plan, a high-deductible catastrophic plan now available to young Americans up to age 30 and any American who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their income in premiums. “If the current ‘Young Invincible’ plan makes it into the final legislation, we will end up with two classes of insured in this country, those with coverage and those with insurance in name only,” said Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote. “Young Americans and all Americans need access to quality and affordable health care. No American deserves anything less.”
Members of Y.I. Want Change have been calling for attention to young Americans’ health care needs at events around the country and in Washington. The coalition continues to work with key Senators and members of the House of Representatives to ensure the final health care reform bill reflects the needs and concerns of young people.
For more information, including a detailed analysis of the Y.I. Want Change policy priorities, please visit www.YIWantChange.org. If you’d like to speak to a Y.I. Want Change spokesperson, please contact Allison Kerbel (Y.I. Want Change): firstname.lastname@example.org, 401.439.6573 or Katie Andriulli (Campus Progress): email@example.com, 202.481‐8238.
Y.I. Want Change is a national coalition of more than 20 youth organizations and their affiliates, including Advocates for Youth, Black Youth Vote, Bus Federation, Campus Camp Wellstone, Campus Progress, Center for Community Change, Choice USA, College Democrats of America, Daily Get Up, Energy Action Coalition, 80 Million Strong, Forward Montana, Future Majority, Generation WE, Generational Alliance, NAACP Youth and College Division, Rock the Vote, Roosevelt Institution, Student PIRGs, Young Democrats of America, Young Invincibles, and Young People First. For additional information please visit www.YIWantChange.org.