Health care for 6.6 million young adults

Updated
 

The one constant in the politics surrounding “Obamacare” is the division in the polls: the Affordable Care Act is not at all popular, but the provisions within the Affordable Care Act are very popular. Folks hate “Obamacare” because they’ve been told to, but these same folks want and expect the benefits the law provides.

One of the more popular provisions is clearly the one extending coverage to young adults. A new report quantifies just how important this protection has become.

About 6.6 million young adults signed up for health coverage through their parents’ insurance plans in the first year after a new provision in the federal health law took effect, according to estimates in a study released Friday.

As part of the law, most insurance plans offered by employers to their workers had to allow parents to enroll dependents on their plans up to the age of 26, starting in September 2010. Previously, parents had been able to include children only up to their 19th birthdays, or until the age of 22 if the children were full-time college students.

The estimate was published in this Commonwealth Fund study, released this morning.

Of course, this provision in the law will disappear if Republicans on the Supreme Court strike down the entirety of the law – the ruling may be handed down as early as Monday – or if Republican policymakers repeal the law in 2013.

But as it turns out, the same GOP officials who’ve insisted that Obamacare is the single worst proposal in the history of Western Civilization, and who’ve sworn up and down that a stake must be driven through every letter of the law, have started to give some of these popular measures a second look.

Sahil Kapur reported this morning on the “wiggle room” Republicans have created for themselves, after years of rhetoric about destroying everything in the law.

Rep. Allen West: “You’ve got to replace it with something. If people want to keep their kid on insurance at 26, fine.” […]

Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair Roy Blunt: “[The under-26 provision is] one of the things I think should continue.” […]

House GOP Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price: “[T]here are some things that have been instituted that a lot of folks have begun to rely upon and plan – make their family plans – based upon. Twenty-six-year-olds being on their parents’ insurance is one of them.”

Senate GOP Leadership Member John Barrasso: “Well, [the under-26 policy is] something that I and other Republicans have supported from the beginning.”

It should bring some solace to 6.6 million American young people and their families that when Republicans vow to kill the entirety of Obamacare, they don’t mean the entirety of Obamacare.

Affordable Care Act and Obamacare

Health care for 6.6 million young adults

Updated