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.
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A friend of mine recently posted a Facebook status message about her frustration trying to get a simple medical procedure covered by her insurance company. Within two hours, her wall was covered with comments from other 20-somethings sharing their own health insurance horror stories.Skip to next paragraph
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A section of the Pew report that deals with attitudes about healthcare reform reported that fewer than half of the Millennials polled said they generally favored the proposals being discussed in Congress (older age groups were even less supportive of the proposals), even though the majority did not believe that their own health coverage would improve.
In particular, though, Millennials were most supportive of areas of the bill that dealt with government responsibility.
According to the report: “Millennials broadly favored two of the bills’ proposals that potentially could affect people who currently lack health insurance coverage: the requirement that all Americans have insurance, with the government providing help for those unable to afford it, and a government health insurance plan to compete with private plans.”
Although Millennials are still solidly pro-Obama, the Pew report suggests that the election fervor is cooling. Our passion proved to be an important factor in 2008.
If election fervor continues to cool, many of us may tune out of the political process altogether. That would mean that progressive lawmakers will lose a major base of support.
We’re a group that is more liberal and socially progressive than previous generations. Politicians need to address issues that matter to us. With healthcare, that means providing a safety net for people who don’t have adequate coverage.
Millennials are defined by our technology use – the Internet and social networking sites are our town halls and all lawmakers should be engaging us in this arena.
Mainly we need to see some action. Endless debate and legislative haggling on major issues like healthcare reform will only dampen our enthusiasm. To keep our support, Congress has to demonstrate that it is capable of providing solutions to major problems.
Millennials have often been called “the entitlement generation.” We’re educated and used to getting what we want and we’re even larger than the boomer generation. The president we voted for and the Congress that we support have an opportunity right now to demonstrate that our optimism and our faith in government hasn’t been misplaced.
This is a battle that Millennials can’t afford to lose. And Congress can’t afford to lose us.
Meghan Lewit is a writer/editor based in Los Angeles. She has written extensively about health and medicine.