Healthcare is Sick

Is there a cure?

Unless you’re invincible, you need health insurance

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Kimberley Young graduated from Miami University (Ohio) in December 2008, and was considering enrolling in graduate school or finding work with a non-profit organization.  Only 22 years old, she had her whole life ahead of her- until she contracted swine flu in early September.  As reported by the Dayton Daily News, she lacked health insurance and thus didn’t seek care for two weeks, but by then it was too late.  She died on September 23.

Many young people lack health insurance because they think it’s too expensive and/or believe they don’t need it.  Statistics justify this philosophy somewhat.  According to the Christian Science Monitor, 27 percent of young Americans didn’t have any health-related expenses in 2006, and when they do require care, young Americans’ annual healthcare expenses average $2,200 to $6,800 less than those of older age groups.

Yet as the tragic case of Ms. Young demonstrates, these are poor reasons to forgo health insurance.  Fortunately some states have laws allowing people to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until their late 20s, and the recently passed House bill that would extend coverage till age 27.

Covering young people would also help fund the more expensive health insurance required by older segments of the population, causing even the health care industry to support extending coverage.

Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Robert Zirkelbach, press secretary for America’s Health Insurance Plans, as saying it “will have a minimal impact”.  Saunders also reported Joshua Gordon of the Concord Coalition- a non-partisan fiscal watchdog group dedicated to eliminating federal budget deficits- said extending coverage had “very minimal federal budget implications” as there are advantages to insuring “young and healthy people”. “It actually saves costs in a way,” he said.

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Written by Chris Russell

November 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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