Healthcare reform must not ignore the Millennials
Healthcare reform will be a crucial test of the Millennial generation's pro-government sentiment. Congress can’t afford to lose the support of young voters.
Almost everyone seems to be talking about my generation. With good reason. The Millennials (Generation-Y) are 95 million strong and many of us are in our 20s. We’re beginning to become a very influential part of the American public.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Congress should think about that as work on the healthcare reform bill comes to a close on Capitol Hill this week. Lawmakers who interpret recent quiet on the healthcare debate as apathy do so at their political peril.
There is a lot at stake in the outcome of this healthcare debate, not the least of which is the Millennials’ potential loss of trust in the US government.
Last week an extensive Pew Research Center report on Millennials shed light on teens and 20-somethings born after 1980. Much of it sounded quite familiar. In fact, a lot of it could have been lifted right off my Facebook profile.
Self-described liberal? Check. Unaffiliated with any organized religion? Check. Voted for Barack Obama? Check.
It appears that, aside from my conspicuous lack of tattoos and video gaming prowess, I’m pretty much the prototypical Millennial.
Perhaps the most intriguing finding to come out of a new Pew report is how optimistic Millennials are, despite being the group hardest hit by the economy. Ninety percent who are currently unhappy with their income level believe that their circumstances will improve.
We’re also significantly more pro-government and pro-regulation than Gen X or our baby boomer parents. According to the report, though, more than half believe that “government should do more to solve problems.”
I thought about this while I watched the healthcare reform summit Feb. 25, during which Republican leaders talked about “incremental changes” and scrapping the bill altogether, and Democrats made vague, open-ended threats to move forward without the opposition party. Congress should take a moment to consider the Millennials.
One third of Millennials are currently uninsured. I live in southern California, where several people I know who purchase private insurance through Anthem Blue Cross woke up a few weeks ago to find that their premiums will be going up by nearly 40 percent in May.
These costs are untenable for a group in which 37 percent are currently either unemployed or out of the workforce. I don’t know a single person my age who thinks that the current healthcare system works, or believes that things will improve without significant government intervention.