President Obama’s new health care reform bill has been widely covered by news stations since it was first proposed this summer. As a highly controversial issue, it has sparked discussions all across the nation.
On Thursday, Sept. 17, Obama spoke about health care to a crowd of approximately 15,000 people in the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center. The crowd was largely made up of college students, and Obama directed his speech to them.
“When you’re young, I know this isn’t always an issue that you have at the top of your mind,” said Obama. “You think you’re invulnerable. That’s what I thought.”
While in college, many students are dependents on their parents’ health insurance or are insured through their school or a private insurer. But according to the American College Health Association, an advocacy and leadership organization for college and university health, adults ages 19 to 29 are the fastest growing age group among people who lack health insurance in the U.S.
According to National Public Radio, “Young people make up one of the biggest chunks of the uninsured: one in three adults under 30 does not have life insurance.”
The health care reform bill aims to insure the almost 50 million uninsured Americans, many of whom are under the age of 25.
Under the new health care bill, young people under the age of 26 who are currently on their parents’ health insurance would be able to stay on their current plan. Anyone not covered by their parents’ insurance would have to pay for their own life insurance or pay a fine (www.npr.org).
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for college graduates entering one of the worst job markets in 25 years, the new bill includes a mandate for a majority of employers, requiring that employers provide health insurance to their workers or pay a financial penalty.
Nearly half of the uninsured adults under 30 “have trouble paying their medical bills,” stated Obama. “Nearly 40 percent are in debt because of it. I mean, think about adding the debt you already have for college, on top of that, another $10,000 or $20,000 or $30,000 or $50,000 worth of debt because you get sick.”