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June 22, 2007

The California Assembly voted 47-32 in favor of Assembly Bill 8, a new bill that takes aim at Health Care reform. The bill is intended to help nearly 70 percent of uninsured people by making health care more available.

However, despite the efforts of the new bill, young people between the ages of 19 and 29, mostly students, are still the largest uninsured group in the United States and that number is growing.

There are 13.7 million young adults who have no health coverage. That number is up 2.5 million since 2000.

More than half of those uninsured have reported that they went without treatment when it was needed because they couldn't afford the cost. This has left many young people unsure of what to do.

"There are many reasons health care is so expensive and no easy answer," said Gail Love, California State University-Fullerton professor of communications who also specializes in health, in an e-mail interview. "Americans feel the latest in medical advances and technology is an entitlement, however these are extremely expensive."

The delivery of health care is also expensive, Love said, instead of seeing a physician for a problem many of those who are uninsured end up in emergency rooms. She continued that emergency room treatment is the most expensive way to receive care.

The passing of Assembly Bill 8, AB 8, includes ways to expand public health programs, cut costs of existing programs and improve the quality of private health care, according to the press release.

Fabian Nunez, a speaker who wrote the bill, intended for it to help those who couldn't afford care, which includes children.

However, the bill does nothing for college-aged people who, after 17, find themselves unqualified for their parents' plans and unable to find cheap health care. Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program have their cut-off point at age 19.

Health insurance premiums have risen 87 percent over the past six years while wages have only increased 23 percent, putting pressure on minimum wage workers such as college students, according to the Center for American Progress.

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Posted by healthinsurance at June 22, 2007 06:34 PM