The Affordable Care Act is disenchanting some and enticing others.
The Patient Protection Act and Affordable Care Act (ACA) offer new benefits to those between the ages 19 and 25. Preventative care measures are also being offered at no extra cost under the law. These measures include screenings, immunizations, nutrition counseling, help to quit smoking and treating depression.
Courtney Law, communications specialist for Know Your Care Colorado, works to help Coloradoans learn about the law. Law encourages young adults under 26 to learn about the law so they can be covered under their parent’s insurance.
“An estimated 21,800 young adults will be in coverage this year because of the provision that allows them to stay on their parents insurance,” Law said. “Approximately 2.5 million young people have already been added since the provision has been around. It’s a great opportunity for young people to have peace of mind.”
Some CU students are being proactive to learn more about the act. Last semester, Alpha Epsilon Delta, the National Health Pre-professional Honor Society, hosted Ezra Watland, a representative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s regional office, to speak about the law.
Hogan Slack, a 20-year-old integrative physiology major and president of the chapter, said the group was impressed with Watland’s knowledge, but remained critical on the law itself.
“[Watland] was one of the best speakers we’ve had,” Slack said. “He was really engaging and I think he really cares about this program. You can tell he has passion about it. My only stipulation with him was that he only presented the positive aspects of the program, he didn’t bring in the realistic downfalls of the program.”
Positive attributes include information from studies like the one last February by the Colorado Trust, that estimated 19,000 new jobs will be created by 2019 by the passage and implementation of the act.
Susanna Moore, a 21-year-old senior MCDB major and vice president of Alpha Epsilon Delta, said she was glad the speaker came in.
“Even though we are pre-med kids and we should be even more educated on this than the general populous, we aren’t at all,” Moore said. “I think it affects everybody.”
Slack said the group was curious about how the ACA would be paid for.
According to the Democratic Policy Committee, “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended, is fully paid for, provides coverage to more than 94 percent of Americans, bends the health care cost curve, and reduces the deficit by $118 billion over the next ten years, with additional deficit reductions in the following years.”
Despite the many positives, the law is still opposed by many, including lawmakers and students. Just last month, Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson declared the law unconstitutional in agreement with many who filed a lawsuit stating so.
“We need to figure something with the insurance companies so that people can be covered adequately,” Moore said. “I don’t think it’s sufficient that we’re one of the only first world countries that doesn’t have healthcare for all its citizens.”
Healthcare.gov is one site Law recommended to learn about the ACA. She also suggested YoungInvincibles.org as a useful tool to see what provisions and benefits you qualify for.
Slack and Moore expressed different opinions about the ACA, but they agree that students need to be educated on the policy.
“As college students it’s easy to think about things on a small level,” Slack said. “Things can be lost on us if we’re not aware of how it will affect the rest of the world.”
“We’re accepting the responsibility as part of the public to understand what we’re voting for and what our government is doing for us,” Moore said. “The more we can educate the greater populous, the better our country will be, and I think that starts with higher education.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Adrian Garcia at Adga6558@colorado.edu.