Resolutions, Healthcare Reform and more…

Like most of you, I have a bunch of resolutions for 2011 that I hope to keep- spend quality time with my children every day; be more organized…ok, ok, BE organized; exercise more and eat less; read at least two books a month while actively participating in my newly formed book group; volunteer regularly at the elementary school; post my weekly blog on time…the list goes on!

And then there’s this one: better understand why John Boehner and the Republican majority in Congress are so adamant on repealing the health care reforms passed last March and have seemed to make this goal New Year’s Resolution #1. Today is the first day of a Republican majority in the House and the newly elected Speaker pledged to be “honest, accountable and more responsive” to the American people.  Not such bad ideas.  How reversing changes in health care legislation is going accomplish this is a mystery to me.

By no means do I pretend to comprehend all aspects of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) nor do I want to suggest that the parts I do understand are all infallible.  What I do know for sure is what I witness everyday at the hospital- young people diagnosed with advanced cancers because they didn’t have health insurance (by life’s circumstances or choice) to get the right care when symptoms first appeared; incredible stress put on young patients and families to navigate ridiculously complicated insurance policies and benefits; folks that have played by the rules, saved, and worked hard at decent jobs (one’s that offered health insurance) who are becoming bankrupt by medical costs.

I need to do a better job of educating myself about the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), and the specific ways it will impact young adults (18-40 years) living with cancer. Only then can I do a better job of educating the young adults living with cancer who I serve.  There are some great on-line resources out there for all of us like,

www.healthcare.gov

scroll down to “Information for You” and click on “Young Adults”

www.defeatcancer.info

Click on “Medical Literature Review” and then Click on “Healthcare Reform, Cancer and Young Adults.”

One of the more well known provisions of the ACA allows for young adults 25 years of age and younger to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies.  Undoubtedly, a big step forward but for many the young adults I work with at UMGCC this progress is irrelevant.  Their parents may not be involved in their lives, employed themselves or living.  Young adults under 26 may also be parents themselves. (Please note the ACA does allow coverage to married children but not the spouse or grandchildren).

Some of the Act’s provisions encourage and allow for prevention services (HPV vaccines and annual GYN exams without charging co-insurance, co-pay or deductable) and early detection and counseling services to help quit smoking and lose weight.  These are certainly good things but how readily they will be taken advantage of by the healthy young adult population is hard to predict.

So I have my work cut out for me…I will keep you posted!

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About Elizabeth Saylor

Director of Young Adult Patient Navigation
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