By: Nnennaya Amuchie
If only old Kanye was here to comment on the conditions facing young people under the Trump Administration. Then, we might have some public dialogue about it.
From the moment of Kanye West’s now infamous concert rant, the multi-platinum rapper made it clear that he was #teamTrump. But recently, Kanye deleted any trace of his support for Trump from his social media. I can only hope he learned his lesson, after Kanye’s huge fan base of diverse young people were greatly disappointed by his Trump comments. Though Hillary Clinton received a lot of criticism going into and during the course of the 2016 election, young people overwhelmingly supported Clinton over Trump. If it wasn’t already apparent during his ongoing attacks both on the campaign trail and as POTUS, Donald Trump doesn’t care about the consequences of his extremely unpopular and damaging policies his administration has already implemented.
In the remixed version of the old Kanye West: Donald Trump does not care about young people. If he did, he wouldn’t be trying to take away our health care.
According to a Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service report, young adults have the highest uninsured rate of any age demographic. Young people are also less likely to be employed, which puts them at a disadvantage from receiving employer-based insurance. The Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare” aka the ACA, was a big first step in expanding health care services for young people, and any “repeal” of the ACA would have lasting and devastating effects on us. Republicans are fighting hard to repeal Obamacare, and further privatize health insurance ; making it even less likely young people will be covered.
The ONLY healthcare repeal I recognize is “Medicare for all’ or universal health care. Until then, we cannot afford to lose the progress we have made under the ACA, especially for young people.
How we treat our young people determines what type of future we are working to create. When young people are less worried about increasing medical bills, they’re able to be more innovative and civically engaged in society.
Here are some great things Obamacare does and should continue to do for young people:
1. The ACA mandates that young people can stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. For all of us struggling to get a job, this provision means everything. The ACA covers many reproductive health services that were considered pre-existing conditions. Before the ACA, insurance companies could choose not to cover any pre-existing conditions. So, an insurance company basically had the legal right to discriminate against you for any reason, any reason at all.
2. The ACA expands reproductive health services for trans individuals who live at the margins of society and are more likely to not be insured.Trans lives matter and, trans individuals should be able to receive the care they need–from gender reassignment surgery to hormone replacement therapy. These services can be life-changing for those who can afford it. We still need to do a better job of ensuring every trans person has the resources and tools to live the lives they want to live.
3. The ACA mandates mental and behavioral health services for all individuals, including those who have “pre-existing conditions”. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.” Young LGBTQ individuals face even higher barriers due to society stigma or financial dependence on families. Obamacare straight up said, you get free mental health services you get free counseling, you get free substance abuse treatment. Because mental health is health care, goddammit.
4. The ACA expands reproductive health services for young women. Having an STI/STD is not the problem, but the lack of access to affordable/free preventative health services that can create unnecessary public health concerns IS. Whether you are at risk for breast cancer or chlamydia, you deserve the best care, which includes preventative screenings for #thefree.
5. The ACA expands coverage for women and other individuals to decide if, when, and how they want to parent.Under the ACA, insurance companies must cover contraception, breastfeeding support and counseling, urinary tract screenings, gestational diabetes screenings, folic acid screenings, and anemia screenings.
6. The ACA expands how we view comprehensive sexual health services. Because living a healthy sexual life means we should have access to preventative services, too.
7. The ACA expands health care coverage for individuals living with HIV, which disproportionately affects young LGBTQ individuals. The ACA reduced costs for prescription drugs, benefitting individuals living with HIV who have the highest medical costs related to their status. Also?, Insurance companies could no longer deny coverage for those with HIV because, apparently, HIV is a ‘pre-existing’ condition.
8. The ACA expands non-discrimination protections on the most vulnerable populations. So yes, I can get healthcare if I am Black, a woman, and queer. The ACA doesn’t discriminate here.
9. The ACA expands Medicaid coverage for young people living in poverty. Young people who are parenting or pregnant, rely heavily on Medicaid to cover reproductive health services and maternal care
10. The ACA expands coverage for college students under their university health plans. Just because you may not have a full-time job, does not mean you shouldn’t have access to the 10 essential health benefits like everyone else.
Young people are the highest group of uninsured people in America because they are less likely to be employed and more likely to face high levels of poverty. Something as simple as a sprained ankle can easily drive young people into debt, creating long-term financial instability and less incentives to acquire health insurance. We need health care that serves and protects us.
So Donald? Keep your dusty hands off of it.
Photo Via LaDawna Howard/Flickr
Nnennaya Amuchie is a social justice attorney and If/When/How reproductive justice policy fellow at URGE: Unite for Reproductive Justice & Gender Equity. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a J.D./MBA and University of California, Davis with a B.A. in Poli Sci. Nnennaya is writer, blogger, and the published author of :“The Forgotten Victims” and #1 New Release in African Poetry ” Ako na Uche”. She is also an organizer with Black Youth Project 100, D.C., pushing for a world where police and prisons are abolished.