BY GREGORY BROOKINS HINTON, JR.
As a 4th year college student with a pre-existing condition, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has saved my life. I am one of the 3.4 million young adults that would have been burdened with having no health insurance because of a school – to – work force transition that typically takes a few years to establish. Thanks to the ACA’s aim to make health care affordable and available for all Americans, denying coverage to anyone based on a pre-existing condition will be totally banned by 2014.
As of November 2011, the Act’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan has provided insurance to 45,000 Americans who have been locked out of the insurance marketplace because of a pre-existing condition. Before, many health plans and issuers dropped young adults over the age of 19 with pre – existing conditions from their parents’ policies. That left countless college students, recent college graduates and other young people with little recourse, and worse: no health insurance. Historically, some 30 percent of young adults have been uninsured, a rate far higher than that of any other age group. Now, it ensures that college students and young adults can stay on their parents’ employer-provided health care plans until age 26.
A few years without preventative care could be very dangerous, that is why one of the best qualities of the Affordable Care Act is that I can now receive preventative care coverage like colonoscopies, blood pressure checks and vaccinations practically for free. This is possible because insurance companies are now required to provide preventive care coverage without co-pay or out-of-pocket costs.
Furthermore, the ACA strategically reduces health care costs to make it affordable for those who could not afford it in the past. Before health reform, insurance premiums were skyrocketing and the cost of caring for the uninsured added $1,000 to the typical policy. The Affordable Care Act promotes better value through preventive care, coordinated care, and reduced waste and abuse. Starting in 2014, new state-run marketplaces will increase competition among insurers.
The Affordable Care Act is a prime example that lets me know that President Obama has my back. He passed the ACA to restore health care as a basic cornerstone of middle-class security in America. What he has done is make health care more affordable for families and small businesses and brought much-needed transparency and accountability to the insurance industry. This has improved access to health care for all Americans, making it affordable for college students and seniors.
This Act has made affordable health care a right, not a privilege. In addition, this has helped 41 million African Americans prevent and treat the type of diseases and conditions that affect my community like heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Most importantly, nearly a quarter of African Americans, including myself, will no longer be denied access to health insurance. Thank you, President Obama for pushing for and signing the Affordable Care Act. Thank you for saving my life.
GREGORY BROOKINS HINTON, JR. is a 21 year old African American student from Grinnell, Iowa. He is a senior at Grinnell College and is studying Political Science and English.