Health care in the United States remains under attack. President Trump and Congressional Republicans have made repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a central campaign promise and primary governing priority. Since President Trump took office in January 2017, the Republican majority and the administration have attempted repeated legislative efforts to repeal or severely weaken the ACA, successfully repealed the individual mandate, worked to sabotage the law administratively, and declined to defend the law against yet another looming legal challenge that threatens key consumer protections.
At the same time these repeal efforts were taking place, the United States saw historic gains in health insurance coverage – particularly for young adults – and public support for the ACA reached record highs, with the majority of adults under 50 now having a favorable view of the law. Consequently, it’s no surprise that fifty-five percent of Americans now say that they worry “a great deal” about the availability and affordability of health care, more than any other issue.
In the upcoming midterm elections, voters want to hear from candidates about the issues that matter to them. Nearly one in four voters say that health care is “the most important issue” they want to see candidates address in 2018, with health care costs specifically being top of mind for these voters. While the ACA has helped expand coverage to tens of millions of Americans, costs remain a barrier for many, particularly for young adults. Candidates should think big about the next phase of health reform, while at the same time focus on practical, short-term proposals to ensure access to and affordability of coverage. The ACA has helped expand coverage to tens of millions of Americans, but challenges remain, and there’s much that candidates can do right now to protect the ACA and build on its progress.
Young Invincibles challenges midterm candidates, and all elected officials, to support a health care policy platform that prioritizes the health of young adults by ensuring they have access to the affordable care they need to get and stay healthy. Millennials are projected to overtake Baby Boomers in the next year as the largest living adult generation and are also approaching Baby Boomers in their share of the electorate. Young adults have also seen the greatest gains under the ACA, and consequently have much to lose. In order to win their votes, candidates need to be specific about their plans to protect and expand access to coverage.