On Health Care, Youth Willing and Able, But White House Never Called

Quiet Agitators

New America Media, News Report, Annette Fuentes Posted: Sep 04, 2009

Angry mobs at the now-infamous town hall meetings on health care reform got voluminous coverage on evening news shows and even YouTube offerings, making stars out of the protestors. And overwhelmingly, the faces of the radical agitators singled out by news cameras were very much the same, no matter the geography. They were white, middle-aged or older Americans, railing against an imagined government take-over of health care and a slew of other policies championed by the Obama administration.

Where were the young activists who mobilized in record numbers to campaign for change and helped sweep Obama and a Democratic majority into power? To observers following the health care debate, youth have been conspicuous by their absence on the first crucial challenge to the new administration. Some have speculated that young people simply don’t care about health care in the same passionate way that older people do—perhaps because they are generally healthier and haven’t tangled with the health insurance bureaucracy yet. Certainly, the elders’ cry of, “Don’t touch my Medicare,” won’t resonate for the youth.

But the fact that young activists weren’t going toe-to-toe with graying anti-reformers doesn’t mean health care is a low priority for them. The opposite is true, according to several recent surveys. And youth are out organizing in support of reforms, knocking on doors and connecting online—out of sight of cable news cameras. Some of that activism has been ongoing, but much of it is only recently kicking into high gear in response to the conservative backlash against Obama’s agenda and as college students return to their campuses, say organizers at several state and national groups.

If young people haven’t been visible enough, the fault also lies in part with the Obama administration and the Democratic Party, which failed to mobilize them early to keep the election momentum rolling, say several organizers.

“I think it’s true,” says Mike Connery, 31, founder of FutureMajority.com and author of “Youth to Power: How Today’s Young Voters Are Building Tomorrow’s Progressive Majority.” “Young people aren’t playing as large a role in the debate as they should be.”

Connery says one reason is that this is an off-year for political campaigns, and the organizations that brought young people to the polls last fall are now short staffed and short on money. Another reason is that young people are often covered by their parents’ health insurance plans and aren’t directly affected. He also points a finger at the White House and its organizing arm.

“I don’t see Organizing for America making an explicit appeal to young people,” he said. “They are not sending a targeted appeal to young people to drive home that this is really important in the short and long term. Without that, it’s hard to get them to these events.” Unlike state efforts, Organize for America has the resources and reach to counter the conservative push, Connery notes, but it did not do that.

A pair of polls this summer gives lie to the idea that young people are indifferent about health care reform and highlights a stark contrast on the issue with older Americans. An Aug. 5 survey from CNN found that among those polled, a majority of those under 50 support the Obama’s proposals, and a majority of those over 50 oppose them. Opponents of reform also were more likely to attend those town hall meetings than supporters, which explains in part why there was more shouting than discussion.

Two weeks later, a poll by SurveyUSA found that health care reform rates high on everybody’s radar, whatever the age. Of people 18 to 24, 59 percent said they were paying a lot of attention to the debate, while among those aged 60 to 69, 85 percent were paying a lot of attention. That high level of interest held across race and ethnicity, with 75 percent of both whites and blacks and 66 percent of Hispanics paying a lot of attention.


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User Comments


hsr0601 on Sep 04, 2009 at 01:31:38 said:

Theme : Today is the time to boost health mileage just like Nissan Leaf and GM Volt.

Time doesn't fix the ceaseless greed and energy exhaustion for certain. Faced with these challenges, current generation is to build a bridge for generations to come, and it will be for both, too. By converting Incredible waste in health care system into funding for the uninsured young adults, both generations are better off after all, otherwise, Medicare and Medicaid system are also facing insolvency.

Similarly, by weaning off fossil-fuel dependence as part of trimming the trade deficit (over 2/3 of which is caused by importing oil), all generations are enjoying the benefits of long-lasting peace and job generation together, as Nissan Leaf and GM Volt that made a long-awaited innovation are coming to marketplace soon, the other developers that come in a range of 200 to 300 miles between charges are on fast-tract toward mass-market, as well.

With this promising health reform combined with a balancing function for price inflation in operation, Chevy Volt, too, is earning competitive edge in price along the way, together with Nissan Leaf. I think it's of great importance to note that world-wide overpopulation that keeps surging and energy shortfall thereof doesn't allow inefficiency and waste.

When some part of our body is ailing seriously, we are losing competitiveness, equally, when some part of a nation is ailing servery, it is losing competitiveness, too

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