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Letter to Chairman Baucus

September 25, 2009

The Honorable Max Baucus
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Baucus:

We are writing on behalf of organizations representing young Americans across the country whose lives will be dramatically impacted by health care reform. We applaud many of the aims of Americas Healthy Future Act, particularly efforts to provide universal coverage to all Americans.

However the current legislation falls short on a number of key provisions that must be addressed. We urge you to make health insurance more affordable for young Americans by expanding the income range eligible for subsidies and lowering the caps on the percentage of income individuals might pay for premiums. We urge you to allow young adults to remain on their parents insurance policy until the age of 26 so as to reduce gaps in coverage and preserve continuity of care. We also urge you to add a public option to make the new health insurance exchanges more competitive and lower costs for young consumers. We strongly believe that comprehensive, affordable health insurance should be available to all Americans, young and old.

We are aware of the inclusion of a young invincible plan in the current legislation that is effectively a catastrophic with no coverage below the HSA out-of-pocket limit except for preventive benefits and services. (Snowe Amendment #F5 accepted into the Chairmans Mark) While we believe the focus should be on improving subsidies so everyone can afford comprehensive coverage, if the young invincible provision must be in the legislation it needs to include certain key provisions:

  • The HSA limit is now $3,000 and is far too high a deductible for even healthy young Americans. Common injuries that need treatment could spell financial ruin for young Americans, 80% of whom earn less than $40,000 per year. The allowable deductible should be significantly lowered.
  • Preventive benefits and services must be defined broadly to include a wide variety of common preventive treatments including regular check-ups, screenings, and gynecological visits.
  • The plan must include coverage for chronic conditions that impact those 18-34, such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and sinusitis, which would not count against the deductible. Over 15% of young Americans deal with chronic health care problems. Without access to proper case management, not only do they suffer but it costs the system in the long-run.

Thank you for your leadership on this issue. Young people are counting on you to deliver on the promise of reform and a better future for all Americans.


18 in 08
Daily Get Up
80 Million Strong
Forward Montana
Advocates for Youth
Rock the Vote
Black Youth Vote
Student Association for Voter Empowerment
Bus Federation
Young Invincibles
Campus Progress