After months of uncertainty, Republicans have finally released their plan — dubbed the American Health Care Act — to replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The plan seeks to replace almost every aspect of the ACA, former President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment. However, the new plan will not affect young adults’ ability to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans until the age of 26. In addition, the plan still prohibits insurance companies from discriminating based on preexisting conditions. While these are only small victories considering there are many complications with the legislation, these aspects of the American Health Care Act prove that millennials’ voices of dissent are being heard.
Since President Donald Trump’s election, thousands of Americans — particularly young people on college campuses — have participated in protests around the country, contesting the majority of Trump’s policies. While many on the right have called these protests pointless and a waste of time, the decision to keep young adults and those with preexisting conditions covered proves that young protestors are influencing the GOP. The American Health Care Act seeks to upend virtually every aspect of the Affordable Care Act, yet protecting millennials’ ability to remain on their parents’ plans was one of the few exceptions made. Clearly, the GOP has been receptive to pressure coming from millennial protesters around the country. Rallies across the country from Washington Square Park to the White House lawn seem to have gotten the attention of congressional Republicans, and while this may seem like a small push in the right direction, this decision makes it clear that the GOP is susceptible to pressure from millennials. Therefore, it is vital that the protests continue.
It is worth noting that the plan as a whole is still extremely problematic. The victory here is certainly not the bill itself, but rather how one of the few policies from Obama’s ACA that Republicans kept ensures that millennials need not live without health insurance. The bill is still expected to cause millions of low-income families to become uninsured while giving tax breaks to the upper class, including insurance company executives who make over $500,000 per year. These facts are certainly troubling, and progressives must continue to protest for a more inclusive plan. Some will call it pointless and a waste of time, but this surprising turn of events proves that when millennials join together, they can in fact achieve results that benefit all people.
Going forward, young people must continue to make their voices heard. The events of this week prove that although student protesters may not be getting everything they want, their work is not in vain. If students keep the pressure on, these small achievements in the American Health Care Act are only the beginning of their success.
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