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A congressional battle is brewing, and college students undoubtedly will be caught in the fray. That’s because a vote by the Republican-dominated U.S. House on whether to repeal health care reform enacted last March is expected next week.
The vote originally was scheduled to take place today, but all House legislative business was nixed because of the Jan. 8 Arizona shootings which hospitalized a representative from that state.
Although experts say a repeal is well nigh impossible — at least while President Barack Obama holds office — an Ann Arbor-based public interest group released a report Monday that found doing away with the reforms would harm Michigan and other states.
Public Interest Research Group in Michigan, or PIRGIM, used information and data from a number of state, federal, nonprofit and other entities to draw several conclusions about the implications of a repeal.
One of the report’s key findings more noteworthy for college-age people is that tens of thousands of young people would be unable to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until they are 26 years old, as allowed by the reforms.
Because of the economy, graduating college students, in particular, might not be able to find a job right out of college, PIRGIM program associate Meghan Hess said. Many of those who do obtain either little or no insurance under their employer, or have unreasonably expensive plans.
“We think that, in today’s economy, the higher cost (of insurance) that the consumers and businesses in Michigan would face is the last thing we would need,” Hess said.
Evan Pedder, an international relations sophomore, said he favors health care reform.
The millions of Americans who have health insurance benefit from the reforms, as do young people who are able to remain on their parents’ insurance, he said.
“I don’t know for sure if I would have health insurance without the bill right now,” Pedder said.
Dave Yonkman, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, said a repeal is necessary because of the seriously flawed nature in which health care reform was passed. Rogers represents a district that includes MSU and East Lansing.
Yonkman said the reforms were passed because of “budget gimmicks, double counting and false assumptions,” which led to skewed estimates in a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office which said repealing the reforms would add billions to the federal deficit.
“The law will have a disastrous impact on health care, and is already making insurance more expensive, forcing people off their current plans and putting government bureaucrats in between families and their doctors,” Yonkman said.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, said PIRGIM’s report underscores the necessity of health care reform. Dingell represents a district that includes Ann Arbor.
“The PIRGIM report is part of the overwhelming evidence that this reform is vital to our economic security and to our public health by ensuring all citizens have access to affordable quality health care,” Dingell said in a statement.
Matt Grossmann, an MSU assistant professor of political science, said despite the move to repeal health care reform, House Republicans know their effort will not work — at least initially.
It’s unlikely, with a Democratic Senate and president, the House will be able to strike the law within the next two years, Grossmann said. If the political tide flows in the GOP’s favor during the next presidential election, some form of repeal might be likely.
“Keeping it on the agenda can be important … down the line,” he said. “I will say even most pieces of major legislation are not repealed in full. That doesn’t mean there aren’t changes.”
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