I’ve been expecting a number on this, and now we have one.
Hundreds of thousands of young adults are taking advantage of the health care law provision that allows people under 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans, some of the nation’s largest insurers are reporting. That pace appears to be faster than the government expected.
WellPoint, the nation’s largest publicly traded health insurer with 34 million customers, said the dependent provision was responsible for adding 280,000 new members. That was about one third its total enrollment growth in the first three months of 2011.
Others large insurers said they have added tens of thousands of young adults. Aetna, for example, added fewer than 100,000; Kaiser Permanente, about 90,000; Highmark Inc., about 72,000; Health Care Service Corp., about 82,000; Blue Shield of California, about 22,000, and United Healthcare, about 13,000.
The Health and Human Services Department has estimated that about 1.2 million young adults would sign up for coverage in 2011. The early numbers from insurers show it could be much higher, said Aaron Smith, executive director of the Young Invincibles, a Washington-based nonprofit group that advocates for young adults.
The GOP House majority ran on repealing and replacing the PPACA. They have been busy since the election with holding useless, purely political votes in the House to repeal parts of the existing health care law. In fact, the one and only health care plan Republicans have put forth is Paul Ryan’s health care plan, which replaces Medicare with a private, underfunded voucher system and drastically cuts Medicaid under the guise of “block grants”.
Although we all know that around 40% of Medicaid spending currently goes to the elderly and the disabled, Ryan’s proposal for drastic cuts in Medicaid continues to be portrayed as gutting a program “for the poor”. Medicaid is a program that serves the poor but it also serves the most vulnerable people in the country: the elderly and the disabled. They’re not just “the poor”. And, Medicare and Medicaid are connected. It is disingenuous to talk about health care for the elderly and limit the discussion to Ryan’s 6,000 dollar Medicare vouchers. That isn’t the reality of people’s lives.
Republicans in the House are seeking repeal of a health care reform law that is benefiting people now, today, and they have offered nothing to replace it. Paul Ryan seeks to dramatically change the existing health care system, and has offered nothing to the people who would be without access to health care under his proposal. At the state level, Mitch Daniels in Indiana, under pressure from a certain conservative political faction, just agreed to deny access to clinics to 20,000 people who had access to those clinics.
Less than two years ago we had a health care debate in this country. We reached broad public consensus that we need to expand access to health care. Conservatives are now seeking to limit access to health care or, in the case of Mitch Daniels, actually limiting access, and no one seems to notice.
Did I miss something here? Did the public intellectuals and media personalities decide somewhere along the line that we don’t need to expand access to health care, but instead need to limit access? What changed?