HHS, Department of Ed ‘Reach Out’ to Young Voters

In their “Letter to University Presidents and Student Associations Regarding Health Insurance for Young Adults,” issued May 18, Department of Education secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sibelius encouraged campus leaders to remind graduating seniors about the options now available under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  But they are doing more than simply raising awareness:

Before the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, was passed in 2010, graduation day was the day when millions of young adults lost their health insurance, making them one of the most vulnerable groups of Americans. Many young adults were forced to go without coverage, making them just one accident or serious medical illness away from unmanageable medical bills that could make them go broke trying to pay for the care they needed….

Millions of young adults do not have to worry about this anymore.  The new health care law makes it possible for young adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health care plan if the policy covers dependent children.  This is true whether they are unemployed, looking for a job, married, in school, living at home, or even if they are employed but their employer does not offer coverage…. Now, graduating students are free to make career choices based on what they want to do, not where they can get health insurance.

The letter also includes a variety of ways to participate in the campaign: downloadable website “badges” by which schools can link directly to Obamacare information; a series of flyers and brochures to hand out, with a distinct brochure for each minority group; and a link to the “Young Adult Coverage” Facebook page, which features feel-good stories about youngsters already benefiting from the PPACA.

But this message is not just for collegians.  An HHS press release issued Monday, May 21, states that the secretaries “are reaching out to campus leaders to remind graduating high school, college and university seniors about their new health insurance options…” (emphasis added)  Ben Shapiro, at Breitbart.com, explains why the administration is also targeting the pre-college crowd:

This is obvious propagandizing; under the old health care law, most insurance programs allowed dependent care coverage for people under the age of 21.  So why would Sebelius and company be reaching out to high schoolers?  The answer: those high schoolers are turning 18, and can therefore vote.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.