I hate horror movies. They are gory, they make me anxious and they never, ever, end well. Author Stephen King is widely touted as the king of the genre, but it seems that his congressional counterpart Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is attempting to out-do him. Rep. King is terrifying Americans everywhere with his devoted support for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would spike the deficit by $230 billion. Beyond that, repeal would kill jobs at the rate of up to 400,000 annually. $230 billion in debt and shedding jobs at 400,000 a year? Who needs The Shining? I’m already terrified.
King specifically attacked the Young Adult Coverage provision, which would allow Americans to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26 if they have no other access to insurance. In his testimony to the House Rules Committee on Obamacare, King stated:
“I wanted my kids to grow up. When they turned 18, I told them my responsibilities are now done. I am going to nurture you and give you advice and counsel you, and I will help you where I can. But I am not obligated, guys. We did our best for the first 18 years. We will do our best for every year. We will love you all our lives, but you got to start pulling your own load. ”
You know, Rep. King, I would carry my own load if I could. Maybe if you pulled your head out of the congressional bubble in which it seems to be trapped and took a long look at the current state of things for young Americans, you would be singing a different tune.
As a young adult who is a year away from graduating into one of the worst jobs markets for young people in living memory AND as an American with a chronic, expensive auto-immune disease, I point to myself as proof that Rep. King could not be more wrong. Insurance is still tied to employment and young adults are unemployed at the highest rate of all Americans. Repealing the Young Adult Coverage provision would cut off millions of unemployed young adults like me from access to insurance. And for those of us who are sick and young, the ending to this slasher film looks even worse.
So, I guess my message is this:
Rep. King, I will make sure to send you my thousand-dollar medical bills when I am 25 and broke. Your repeal means that after I graduate and don’t immediately find a job (which is likely in this economy) I will not only have no insurance, but I will be uninsurable for the rest of my life because you’ve abolished the Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan that would enable me to receive care for a lifelong disease that I can’t control having. Staying healthy will bankrupt me.
But this isn't an Emily Schlichting pity-party. This is just one example of how much the Affordable Care Act has positively impacted Americans, young and old, rich and poor, Republican and Democrat. Health care reform saves money, but more importantly, it saves lives. In this thriller, the killer isn’t going after people but rather their health care coverage, which is even more deadly in the long run. How’s that for a scary ending? If you ask me, Steve King should leave the horrific plot-lines to the professional.