...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Can Dems Win Young Voters with Health Care?

There is absolutely no question that us Americans are about to have a serious problem when it comes to health care. The health care problem is a triple-whammy: the price of treatment is increasing, Americans are becoming unhealthier, and social security is going down the pipes. Tamara Draut, the author of Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30- Somethings Can't Get Ahead believes that the health conundrum can be used to the Democrats' advantage. But is her viewpoint, perhaps, a bit overstated?

The Problem With Health Care:

Health care is not a sexy issue, especially not in the eyes of young voters. Young voters have less health problems than older demographics, and 1/3 of people aged 18-29 do not have health insurance. According to Draut in the San Francisco Cronicle, "Winning Over Young Voters," "It's not because they think they're invincible. Only 3 percent of young adults are uninsured because they turned down coverage; the rest either aren't offered it by their job or they can't afford it."

Do Young People Care?:

Research from CIRCLE at University of Maryland and Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the Council for Excellence (DCCE) suggests that young people do indeed care about health care. When potential young voters were asked to rate the importance of issues on a scale of 1-10, the affordability of health care was rated 8.2, more than security from terrorism, which was rated 8.0. Draut also offers our demographic a grim reminder of what happens when we hurt ourselves or become sick and do not have adequate health insurance: "Not having health insurance has more than physical consequences; about half of young adults ages 18 to 29 without health insurance reported having problems paying medical bills."

The big question for Democrats is: Is it worth it? Is health care a big enough issue to young people that it can be used to drive them to the polls? Experts, such as Draut, CIRCLE, DCCE seem to think so. I'd go with the experts.

Why Should Young People Be Concerned?:

...because we will be old one day too. And when that day comes, if the fiscally-liberal Republicans have their way, we may not have social security. And treatment will cost more than ever. And, if we continue to eat like we eat right now, more of us will have weight-related health problems than any preceding generation.

There are two major problems with social security: 1) social security is in a 10.4-trillion dollar deficit. This sum will keep growing unless new legislation is put into place. 2) One piece of proposed legislation is Bush's plan to privatize, or as the liberal bloggers call it, "phase-out" social security. Though it may be built on the same principle that built the American economy in the first place (ruthless capitalism), it is fiscally wreckless because most Americans would not have the economic expertise to effectively invest their own accounts.

Young voters are concerned about health care, and young people in general should be. But should Democrats be concerned about young peoples' concerns about health care. I am concerned that they are not concerned about our concerns, and they should be concerned. Be concerned.

More Information:

National Youth Survey 2004 - CIRCLE
Does Social Security Really Face a 12-Trillion Dollar Deficit - FactCheck.org
Winning Over Young Voters - Tamara Draut, San Francisco Cronicle (via Young Voter Strategies)

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