Affordable Care Act is the best way to aid healthcare

By Sam Malone

Local representative Lauren Underwood’s efforts to protect the Affordable Care Act are by far the best way to work toward a solution that has plagued the country for too long.

Both Democrats and Republicans are failing to create a healthcare system that works by being too polarized in their policies. Whether rallying to abolish the Affordable Care Act in favor of Healthcare for All or building the private insurance sector, these extremist options will not help us when it counts: right now.

Underwood, who represents Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, which covers parts of DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, has written legislation to improve the Affordable Care Act. By doing so, she is providing real solutions to the country’s healthcare crisis.

“We’ve been working to expand access to healthcare — high quality and affordable healthcare — and protecting the Affordable Care Act to allow anybody, especially students who are under age 26, to remain on your parent’s insurance,” Underwood said Sept. 3 during her town hall event held at the Holmes Student Center.

The Affordable Care Act requires plans with dependent-child coverage to make the coverage available until an adult child reaches 26 years of age, but this provision does not currently apply to Medicare. This is because Medicare does not provide coverage for dependents, meaning adult children under age 26 must apply independently for healthcare coverage.

As a 21-year-old student enrolled in Medicaid, I can personally attest that my life would be much easier if I were eligible to remain on my parents’ insurance. I have jumped through numerous hoops to get and keep my medical insurance, sometimes going weeks or months without being able to see a physician as a result of flaws in the system.

While a Healthcare for All plan may seem like an appealing prospect, the country does not have the resources to make it an effective one, nor does it have the financial stability. Underwood has said numerous times that a Healthcare for All plan is not feasible given the country’s debt, and she is absolutely right.

Many of us, as students, cannot generate the income needed to pay for a healthcare plan. Many of us do not yet have jobs that provide benefits. Yet, we still need healthcare. This is why the Affordable Care Act matters.

For those whose parents do have health insurance plans with dependent-child coverage, the Affordable Care Act is crucial. Eliminating the act, whether for purposes of growing private insurance providers or creating Healthcare for All, is a mistake, and many well-versed professionals agree.

The Illinois Health and Hospital Association stands by Underwood and her attempts to protect the Affordable Care Act, stating the act has been one of the greatest changes in healthcare, according to its website.

“[The Illinois Health and Hospital Association] applauds Underwood’s dedication to ensuring all Illinoisans have access to quality, affordable healthcare,” A.J. Wilhelmi, president and CEO of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association said, according to a May 17 news release. “Her legislation takes needed action to protect patients from insurance plans that do not offer adequate protection over the long-term, especially if a patient is diagnosed with a serious condition or illness. Illinois hospitals appreciate Underwood’s ongoing leadership to make sure vital protections included in the Affordable Care Act are not rolled back.”