Obama's Health Care Reform Giving More Young People Health Coverage

New surveys show that more young people have heath care thanks to Obama’s hotly contested plan.

Posted: 09/22/2011 02:46 PM EDT
Emergency Room Obamacare

Despite Congressional bickering, two new surveys show that nearly one million more young people now have health insurance coverage as a result of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of thousands more young people have the health care coverage they need," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a written statement. "It's very disappointing to hear some people in Congress talk about repealing the law and taking away this security," she said.

The surveys, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Gallup, noted a significant decline in uninsured Americans between the ages of 18 and 25.

The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics said that the number of uninsured Americans ages 19 to 25 dropped from 10 million last year to 9.1 million in the first three months of 2011.

Similarly, the Gallup survey found that the percentage of adults ages 18 to 25 without coverage dropped from 28 percent last fall to 24.2 percent by this summer; a drop that shows 1 million young adults now have health insurance.

Although neither survey could link the drop in uninsured young adults directly to the new law, the act allows adults ages 26 and under to be covered by their parents' insurance plans.

"It means I don't have to spend every penny I make to get health care," said 24-year-old Elizabeth Wilson told CBS News. "I can use some of it to further my studies or buy food."

The Affordable Care Act was passed in March 2010 and aims to extend health insurance to nearly all Americans by means of new taxes imposed on the wealthy and banning restrictive insurance practices. GOP members have staunchly criticized the plan since its inception, taking a symbolic vote to repeal the law this past January.

(Photo: REUTERS/Allison Joyce)