President Barack Obama spends a great deal of time and energy trying to convince college-aged Americans that he really cares about them and understands the challenges that they face.
It is no secret that the President played upon the idealism of American youths during his first campaign by way of celebrity endorsements and one-word slogans promising “hope” and “change.” But now, evidence of the President’s real contribution to young Americans is coming to light.
A recent Wall Street Journal report points out one thing Obama is doing for college-aged Americans with his healthcare initiative: making it harder for them to access affordable insurance while they are in school. Many students remain on their parents’ health coverage plans while attending college and have traditionally been able to do so until reaching the age of 22. Obamacare extended that age to 26. But, the Journal reports some 600,000 college students whose parents do not carry health insurance opt instead to purchase low-cost, minimal coverage health insurance from their colleges.
In 2010 the American Council on Education warned the President that his healthcare overhaul was going to drive up the cost of the college-provided insurance options so much that many colleges would be forced to drop them or raise premiums to outstanding levels.
From the Journal:
Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., this past year offered a 12-month plan that cost students $445, while capping payouts at $10,000. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the Obama administration said the payout cap must be at least $100,000. Bethany said students would have had to pay more than $2,000 to get that new level of coverage.
The Obama Administration contends that the low payout cap, even for the relatively healthy 18-23 age group, is insufficient health coverage. Proponents of the discounted insurance plans say they are good for students who may need to see a doctor for a minor illness or get prescriptions filled throughout the school year without incurring serious out-of-pocket expenses.
The Administration has mandated that for the 2013-2014 school year, plans must cover at least $500,000 in medical expenses, and the year after that plans may not have a payout cap. As a result, many colleges are opting to do away with student health coverage altogether.