Young Voters Speak Out: Each day, RR.com will spotlight politically minded youth writers from throughout the U.S. speaking their minds on Election 2012. First-time voters, student journalists and new graduates will debate the Obama vs. Romney race to the White House. Young Democrats, Republicans and ‘Undecided’ Americans are eager to play politics and choose the next Commander & Chief.
Read Sarah Healey's thoughts from a left-leaning perspective:
Here's a scenario: you trip on your flip-flop and break your toe running down the stairs (done it.). You're a newly minted, uninsured college grad with only enough cash to buy a hot dog at the beach and pay this month's rent. Unless Mom and Dad are willing to foot the bill, you're stuck paying for the damages, or at least, that's how the Mitt Romney of 2012 would have it.
The Two Faces of Mitt
For months now, Romney has vehemently promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Curiously, as Governor of Massachusetts he created and successfully passed health care reform within his state; a reform very similar to President Obama's ACA. But the force of influential conservative voters has changed his stance.
To give you an idea of what Romney did for Massachusetts, and what he's willing to trade for the presidency, here are a few possible scenarios that could occur in Massachusetts thanks to Romney's health reform. All of these examples will be possible nationwide if the ACA proceeds as planned.
Frank is a freelance writer; his income varies monthly and health insurance isn't readily available; thus Frank chooses not to be insured. He has a history of asthma, so insurance companies offer him high premiums that he can't afford.
The Massachusetts reform mandates that all citizens must have health insurance or face a fine. Because an astronomical monthly payment could be detrimental to Frank, he will be able to enroll in The Connector, an online marketplace that is government regulated to ensure the insurance that citizens purchase is fairly priced and affordable (AKA an exchange). Frank will be able to buy insurance to cover medical events from routine to catastrophic. Massachusetts has also employed a community rating system that will force insurance companies to charge people in the same geographical area the same price for insurance, regardless of age or prior medical history and no one can be turned away from health insurance coverage.
The Small Business Owner
Susan employs 11 people. Since the reform, Susan is required to offer insurance to her employees and she has access to affordable group plans through The Connector. Her employees can use their pre-tax earnings to pay for their portion of the cost of insurance and those who can get insurance elsewhere can opt-out.
The Low-Income Family
Miranda is a single mother; she is a waitress part-time. Like Frank, Miranda's family must have insurance, but Miranda's income is less than 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL), so her insurance is subsidized by the state. In addition, Medicaid has been expanded to cover all children who live in households of this same income level, meaning that Miranda's children will have free health insurance.
Every component of the ACA was first instated in Romney's Massachusetts, but with the presidency in view he wouldn't claim credit for its success; in fact he will even take away this chance at health care reform for America should he be elected. Not only is Romney endangering the immediate future of health care, he is demonstrating how beholden he is to the far right; how far will he go to please them?