Compromise On Health Care Is Difficult, But Failure To Pass Bill Means Youth May Ditch Dems
Compromise is difficult on insurance regulatory reforms, but not passing reform could lead many young voters to stay home in the 2010 elections.
Fortune/CNNMoney, in an analysis: "In the battle over health care reform, two ideas seems to bridge the divide between Democrats and Republicans: Private insurers should be required to cover Americans with pre-existing conditions and be banned from charging older, sicker people much more. But where the two camps jibe could also cause the most damage to health care." Guaranteed issue and community rating "have already failed at the state level," and "markets that combine both rules, the private insurance pool attracts mainly older, sicker patients. As more and more of them sign up, premiums rise for everyone, further encouraging young and healthy customers to drop out. The pool dries up. Eventually, private insurers leave the market." An individual mandate requiring most Americans to carry insurance could work, but "both the current House and Senate bills proposed penalties so light that their plans were practically guaranteed to collapse as the healthy shunned coverage while the suddenly sick grabbed it" (Tully, 2/2).
Newsweek reports that if Democrats don't deliver a health care overhaul, young people may stay home in the 2010 elections. "Harvard's Institute of Politics (IOP), which regularly polls young people on political issues, found last fall that just 24 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds said that they were 'politically engaged or politically active,' a 19-point drop from a year earlier. This could mean trouble down the road for a Democratic Party that may have begun taking the youth vote for granted," and without health reform, "youth turnout may plummet."
"Young Americans are uniquely affected by the nation's broken health-care system. The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that aims to improve health care, found in a report released in December that nearly half of all young adults between 19 and 29 said they were uninsured at some time during the past year even after months of demonization, including countless falsehoods about government takeovers and "death panels," young people remain the group that supports health-care reform at the highest rates. When the Commonwealth Fund asked young respondents whether it was important for Congress and the president to improve the health-care system, 88 percent said yes" (Singal, 2/2).