The physicians of Los Angeles + USC Medical Center weren’t inside for their normal rounds on Nov. 14. They were outside on the front steps, holding a rally in support of undocumented children and families, who make up a large part of their patients.
WASHINGTON – Three major health insurance companies have announced they will continue to provide coverage to dependent children on family plans until the age of 26 — a popular part of the federal health care reform law of 2010 — regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the law’s constitutionality later this month. The announcements by United Healthcare, Aetna and Humana have put competitive pressure on other large insurance providers such as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, WellPoint and CIGNA, which have yet to follow suit. “The speculation is that many customers have come to expect certain measures in their policies and it’ll be hard to take those back,” Devon Harrick, a senior economist at the National Center for Policy Analysis, told Youth Today. But it remains to be seen how long insurance companies keep those provisions as part of their plans, especially if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (informally called “Obamacare”) or if competitors begin to offer less expensive, stripped-down policies some months down the line, Harrick cautioned. Adults between the ages of 18 and 24 experienced the greatest gains in health coverage of any age group since the passage of the law.
To date, the Republican presidential candidates have fought their way through 20 debates, collectively fielding 1,037 questions across a broad range of topics. But a new report by Voices for America’s Children shows only a tiny percentage of questions—fewer than 2 percent—focused on child policy issues such as education, child health or child poverty. “While children represent 24 percent of the population and 100 percent of our future,” Bill Bentley, president and CEO of Voices for America’s Children, said in a press release, “questions about their future constituted less than 2 percent of all questions raised in those debates. America’s more than 74 million children can’t vote, but they should be heard, especially in a time of widespread hardship for families.”
The report notes the candidates themselves were more likely to raise children’s issues in their responses than the moderators were in their questions. Only 17 questions addressing education, child health, welfare and poverty were asked of the candidates.
For three days next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will determine the fate of the health care reform law signed by President Obama two years ago. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act introduced a number of changes to how the health insurance industry operates and would cover more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Immediate changes include allowing adult children to remain on their parents’ insurance until they turn 27 as well as the elimination of yearly and lifetime coverage caps. More changes will be rolled out slowly until 2014, when the full law takes effect. But opponents argue one provision in particular is unconstitutional — the so-called individual mandate that takes effect in 2014 and requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or else face heavy fines.