DENVER, Colorado — More than six million young adults now have health insurance because of Obamacare’s new protections. If Mitt Romney wins the presidency and succeeds in his plan to repeal Obamacare, their coverage would be in serious jeopardy.
ThinkProgress asked top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom about what would happen to those young adults who currently have health insurance on their parents’ plan, thanks to Obamacare. “If a state wants to provide that coverage,” Fehrnstrom said, “then they should go ahead and do that.” He did not say what would happen for those not lucky enough to live in such a state, other than to declare he is “optimistic” about their chances of getting coverage.
KEYES: The governor has promised to repeal Obamacare in full, but there are already, for instance, millions of young adults who have received care under its protections. What’s going to happen to those folks if Obamacare is repealed under President Romney?
FEHRNSTROM: Well you’ve heard the Governor speak of his intent to repeal Obamacare because he believes it’s going to act as a wet blanket on the economy. And he would return to the states the power to put in place their own health care solutions. [...] If a state wants to provide that coverage as Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts, then they should go ahead and do that.
KEYES: But for states who don’t, the young adults in those states will be left out?
FEHRNSTROM: Well, we’re more optimistic than you are. We think if states are given the ability to once again determine their own health care futures, then they will act to provide coverage.
Of course, states had decades to provide such coverage, and only a handful allowed young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ plans. In states like Arizona, California, and others, no such protections exist at a state level. Several large insurers have pledged to maintain the provision on their own.
Due to the new federal guarantee, however, Obamacare has led to a record drop in the number of young adults who lack health insurance. Those gains could be rolled back without a federal law requiring insurance companies to allow young adults to stay on their parents’ plan.