Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Young Workers And Health Care Reform

By Ari Matusiak

As the AFL-CIO report, "Young Workers: A Lost Decade," recently found, some 31 percent of workers under age 35 have no health insurance--even if they have jobs. Millions more young workers have insufficient coverage. It's a dangerous situation, and too many young workers would be left bankrupt if hit by an accident or unexpected illness.

Ari A. Matusiak, founder of Young Invincibles, a health reform advocacy group, says in a new AFL-CIO Point of View guest column that these young workers need health care reform now, and that they need to join together to fight for it.

"Young Americans with no insurance are overwhelmingly unable to afford insurance without an employer contribution and live with the daily fear that a single medical event could send them into a spiral of debt. The 13.7 million young uninsured are not invincible--they are a significant cohort that desperately needs meaningful reform."

"For young adults facing the specter of unemployment or lack of insurance, the picture is bleak indeed. Health care is ruinously expensive, underlying conditions such as asthma or diabetes are grounds for disqualification, and fewer employers than ever offer the option of insurance. Fortunately, real reform is achievable."

Matusiak says we need real reform that includes a cap on premiums for low-income workers and families, prevents insurance companies from denying coverage or care based on pre-existing conditions, allows young people to be covered by a parent's insurance and provides an affordable public option.

The fight for health care reform will give the next generation a stronger, more sustainable economy for the future, Matusiak says.

"The ramifications of significant health care reform are enormous. By reducing the likelihood of a catastrophic slide into debt, reform will yield a generation of young workers who are more independent and productive and a labor landscape that remains vibrant. It is time for us to push hard for reform. The stakes have never been higher."

here's a diary at Daily Kos about Matusiak's piece. recs appreciated!

Read the whole thing here.

(Cross-posted from the AFL-CIO Now Blog.)

Seth D. Michaels
Online Communications Coordinator
Employee Free Choice Act

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