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LETTER: ‘Obamacare column lacks factual information’

The column on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is full of misinformation typical of the right-wing attempt to take over the thoughts of young people through editorial control of college newspapers. Her whole argument is filled with non-factual scare tactics that suggest college students living paycheck to paycheck will be burdened with an additional $721 per month.

First, (the column) never points out that the new law allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance up to age 26. Since over 60 percent of U.S. college students are under 25, this sounds like a winning situation for the majority of college students or recent graduates.

Then, (the column) never points out that the actual number of Americans that will have to purchase insurance under the law is quite small. In fact, over 250 million Americans already get health insurance through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid. This leaves a small group of Americans uninsured, and thus may not have access to equitable and affordable health care.

(The column) also forgets to mention that many young people will qualify for subsidies on any mandated health insurance because with their lower age comes less income. And these subsidies are paid primarily by taxes on the wealthy and by cuts to Medicare spending, not by shaking down young people.

(The column) seems to ignore the reality that our relationship with health care evolves with time and we all have some societal responsibility for our individual and family’s health care. Yes you are young today but you will eventually get old. You may be single today but you could have a partner and children in the future. If you are healthy today, you might not be healthy tomorrow. As you age, you will probably require greater access to health care, and even if you are wealthy now, you may be less financially secure in the future. Broader health insurance coverage for Americans is also based on personal responsibility, a hallmark of conservative thought.

(The column) would better serve our university community to provide a responsible opinion of how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will impact young people, versus (an) attempt to spread selected misinformation (that) was probably fed by some corporate controlled lobbying group or media outlet.

James R. Mihelcic has a Ph.D. in civil engineering and is a professor of civil and environmental engineering.