Millennials have seen dramatic gains in health insurance coverage since passage of the ACA, more so than any other age demographic. Instead of building on these historic gains, Trumpcare would have devastating effects on young people.
Trumpcare harms young people by eliminating the current tax credit that helps many young people purchase insurance. According to Young Invincibles, low- and moderate-income young individuals would pay more under Trumpcare than under current law, ultimately impacting over 4 million young people and harming the lowest-income young people the most. On top of that, Trumpcare allows insurers to impose penalties on those who experience gaps in coverage. Who is most likely to experience a gap in health coverage because of a move or a job transition? Young adults. In fact, as many as one-third of young people between the ages of 19 and 34 could face this 30 percent coverage gap surcharge under Trumpcare.
Trumpcare would also mean less access to quality coverage for young adults. Despite the assumption that young people are healthier, an estimated 31 million young adults are living with a pre-existing condition. Keep in mind — before the ACA, people were routinely denied coverage or charged higher rates based on a pre-existing condition. That doesn’t mean just illnesses like cancer, but even allergies, anorexia, or being a survivor of domestic violence. Under Trumpcare, these 31 million young adults would lose guaranteed insurance to cover the medical care they need. Out-of-pocket spending for key services for young adults, such as maternity coverage, mental health care, STD counseling and screenings, and substance use treatment, could increase by thousands of dollars per year — leaving financially-strapped young people to face high out-of-pocket costs they simply cannot afford.
As young people continue to face a host of financial challenges – student loan debt, saving for retirement or saving up to buy a house, looking for a job, among others – security in health insurance is paramount. I believe that we should do more to improve the financial security of the more than 200,000 young people in my Congressional district, not threaten their health coverage.
Trumpcare will threaten the health and future of young people across the country.
Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) is a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.