(WASHINGTON) — Americans are split on whether health care reform will help young adults, and a GOP group wants to convince young voters that it won’t.
Crossroads Generation, a spin-off of the Karl Rove co-founded group American Crossroads that’s geared toward winning the youth vote for Republicans, is dedicating a “small online buy” to place this 60-second Web video on Facebook and YouTube in targeted states:
Democrats have promoted the Affordable Care Act as beneficial to young people–mostly touting its requirement that insurers allow young adults to remain covered by their parents’ plans until age 26. According to a May survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, many Americans can’t decide whether the law indeed benefits “young adults,” although more are inclined to say it does: 38 percent said young adults will be better off, 31 percent said they’ll be worse off, and 31 percent couldn’t decide or declined to answer.
Crossroads Generation includes some partially misleading information on the 25-year-old coverage provision. “Actually…many states already allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance before Obamacare,” the ad states, and Crossroads Generation pointed to 2010 research by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to back up its claim.
The group’s claim is true, but only because it omitted a reference to age. While 12 states allowed young people to remain covered by their parents’ plans at age 25 or beyond as of 2009, in most cases that policy did not apply if young adults were married or not enrolled as full-time students.
No state allowed coverage until age 26 without those or other conditions attached, according to NCSL’s study. As of 2014, the Democratic health law will make all young people eligible for coverage on their parents’ plans, regardless of student, marital, or state-residency status, according to HealthCare.gov, the administration’s website dedicated to promoting the law and its implementation timeline.
Crossroads Generation rightly points to broad strokes that may cause younger people to pay for more insurance than they need. By requiring everyone to buy insurance, including younger and healthier Americans, President Obama’s law balances the requirement that insurance companies cover older, more costly patients and those with pre-existing conditions. Since before Obama’s election, health-policy experts have figured insurers could afford covering older, more expensive patients at a loss–without a spike in premiums–if government supplied them with a new pool of low-cost, often younger customers from which to profit.
In addition to Facebook and YouTube, Crossroads Generation Executive Director Derek Flowers said the group “will also spread the message through our allied networks like the College Republican National Committee and Young Republican National Federation.”
The Affordable Care Act remains unpopular on the whole: The same Kaiser Family Foundation study found that 44 percent of respondents oppose the law, while 37 percent support it nationwide–findings in line with other polls.
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