KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Are College Students The ‘Invisible Minority’ In Health Care Debate?

President Barack Obama's speech at the University of Maryland Thursday put attention on how health care reform may affect young people. NPR reports: "Young people make up one of the biggest chunks of the uninsured: One in three adults under 30 does not have health insurance. And, Obama said, most of them are just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy."

"The solution the president is backing depends on bringing these young, healthy people into the insurance pool. They, like everyone else, would be required to have insurance, but because they use less health care, their premiums would help subsidize coverage for older, less healthy people. ... Those under age 26 who are currently on their parents' health insurance would be allowed to stay on, but other young people, not covered by their parents' insurance, would have to purchase their own health insurance or pay a fine" (Liasson, 9/17).

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Diverse reports: "College students have become the invisible minority in the national health care debate, as millions-middle-income and students of color especially- go without coverage. On the heels of President Barack Obama's health care speech to students at Maryland, experts interviewed by Diverse say college students are being left out. Though often considered the most vibrant and healthy class of privileged Americans, postsecondary students have serious short and long-term health and financial issues, according to a June 2009 report by a group of college health professionals.

"While in college, many students have health insurance as dependents on their parent's insurance or through a school or private insurer, but many students are falling into a widening chasm in the coverage pool. ... Chances are part-time students, minorities, older adults or students at two-year institutions fall among the 20 percent or more than 1.7 million without coverage, according to estimates from a 2008 report to the Senate from the Government Accountability Office" (Hernandez, 9/17). 

CNN reports on how the Baucus bill would increase the chances that students would qualify for Medicaid or CHIP. They may also be helped by insurance co-ops which could make insurance more affordable (Cohen, 9/17).

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