Health Care for the Holidays

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 (Lorrie Goldin)

With the holidays here, I know just what I'm going to ask my daughter for this year. Emma's almost 26, and like a lot of young adults, she's piecing together a couple of part-time jobs while figuring out what comes next. I don't want her to spend her hard-earned cash on stuff I don't need. Instead, I'm asking Emma to make sure she signs up for something she needs: health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

It's true that the rollout has been riddled with problems, but the Affordable Care Act's tremendous benefits remain. Besides, Californians are lucky to have Covered California, the state's fully functional and easy-to-navigate health care exchange. Those who enroll by December 15 will be covered when the law goes into effect January 1. What better way to start the New Year?

Our family has already benefited greatly from the Affordable Care Act -- it's allowed us to keep our daughters on our plan until they turn 26. Soon, though, Emma will need her own health insurance. Before, she never could have afforded it. It's hard to find jobs these days that offer coverage. Emma, like millions of Americans, might have been forced to rely on costly ER visits or the "Hope I don't need it!" plan. Now, under the Affordable Care Act, she and the many Californians like her who've risked disaster due to unattainable insurance will be eligible for expanded Medicaid, federal subsidies or tax credits.

As parents, we make sure our kids are safe: teaching them to buckle up, wear bike helmets and drive defensively. Grown-up children may think of themselves as "young invincibles" who don't need insurance, but accidents and serious illness happen, putting health and family finances at risk. Here's our chance to further guide our kids into responsible and secure adulthood, continuing to protect them by making sure they're covered.

That's why I'm asking Emma for the best present of all: good and affordable health care for her, peace of mind for me.


With a Perspective, I'm Lorrie Goldin.