Take the credit, Mr. President!

By Paul Levy

First Posted at Not Running a Hospital on 9/14/2012

Paul Levy, Host of (Not) Running a Hospital

One of the mysteries of electoral politics is why President Obama doesn’t take more credit for those aspects of the Affordable Care Act that are popular, that represent a reduction in anxiety for a portion of the public.  It’s as if he lets the other guys define the issue in the most negative way.

recently wrote about one, the guarantee of insurance coverage when someone has pre-exisiting conditions. But an equally attractive feature of the law is the provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance policy until age 26.  For years, many people would graduate college or otherwise enter the work force without health insurance coverage.  While these people are, on average, healthier than the general population, the average hides a lot of variation.  Plus, this is the time of life when getting used to preventative care is a good habit.
The new law has made a difference.  The Commonwealth Fund recently reported on data from the Census Bureau:

Young adults made strong gains in coverage, continuing a trend that began in 2010 with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The percentage of uninsured young adults ages 19 to 25 without health insurance declined by 2.2 percentage points in 2011, to 27.7 percent, down from 29.8 percent in 2010 and 31.4 percent in 2009. This nearly 4 percentage point decline in the share of young adults who lack health insurance over the past two years reverses the growth in the uninsured in this age group over the past decade, and is likely attributable to the Affordable Care Act; young adults under age 26 may now stay on or join their parents’ health plans. About 1 million more young adults had insurance coverage in 2011 compared with 2009, prior to the passage of the law.

Mr. Obama’s opponents have made it clear that they would repeal this provision.  The Huffington Post reported back in July:  “Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Republicans would not require parents’ health insurance plans to extend eligibility to adult children if Obamacare is repealed.”

Hey, I am rank amateur on campaign strategy, but I would think that emphasizing these points would be attractive to many voters across the political spectrum.

Patricia Salber MD, MBA (@docweighsin)
Patricia Salber, MD, MBA is the founder and host of The Doctor Weighs In. She is also the CEO of Health Tech Hatch, the sister site of TDWI that helps innovators tell their stories to the world. She is also a physician executive who has worked in all aspects of healthcare including practicing emergency physician, health plan executive, consultant to employers, CMS, and other organizations. She is a Board Certified Internist and Emergency Physician who loves to write about just about anything that has to do with healthcare.

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