While many of the rights established by Congress' passage of health care legislation will get phased in over time, young people who will vote in November's critical midterm elections will actually begin to benefit from some provisions now, in particular the ability to remain on their parents' insurance plans until age 26.
Young people fought hard for this protection. Youth organizations, including Rock the Vote, Young Invincibles and Campus Progress, made it a top priority during the contentious health care debate, as we fought to make sure that the bill that passed was a good deal for young adults. This major victory for the youth movement is a testament to what's possible when the Millennial Generation turns out to vote, and elected officials respond to their needs.
Yesterday I joined Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss how exactly the legislation will roll out, and to take questions from young people and their parents. Watch our session here:
This significant piece of legislation will make it possible for more young people to pursue their dreams, take professional risks as artists and entrepreneurs, or survive a lengthy post-college job search in one of the toughest markets in our nation's history. Presently about 30 percent of young adults are uninsured and gambling on their health without coverage, according to the US government. This provision will be a game-changer for millions of them.
Even as it's implemented, however, this right is already under assault. Opponents of health care legislation have vowed to repeal it. Young people who worked fearlessly to secure this provision, and must continue to stay engaged as advocates for the issues they care about and as voters this fall.
The system worked in favor of young people on health care because we have increasingly voted in record numbers since 2004. In 2010 and beyond, we'll have to continue the upward trend to smash any doubts about our force as a permanent political power.
Are you registered to vote in November? Visit www.rockthevote.com to get started or update your information.
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