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For Young Americans, Health Insurance is Often Elusive

President Obama took his health reform call to young people Thursday with a speech at the University of Maryland. Kwame Holman reports on the challenges faced by the more than 10 million Americans between the ages of 19 and 26 without health insurance.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And still to come on the NewsHour tonight: Minority Leader Boehner; malaria in Tanzania; Senator Kennedy's memoir; and folk singer Mary Travers.

    That follows our close-up on young Americans without health insurance. NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman has the story for our Health Unit. The unit is a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Hannah Howard lives every day with chronic pain.

  • HANNAH HOWARD:

    I have several gynecological problems, and I hurt my back a few weeks ago. I'm in constant pain.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    The tiny home-based marketing company in Rockville, Md., where the 21-year-old works can't afford to provide coverage, and Howard says an individual plan is far too expensive.

  • HANNAH HOWARD:

    Anything with a deductible under a thousand dollars and a co-pay to go see physicians is way out of my price range. And anything in my price range has a deductible of about $5,000, which doesn't help me at all.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Howard is not alone. Nearly 14 million young people — about a third of those aged 19 to 29 — are uninsured. They're the largest segment of the country's 46 million uninsured and one of the primary targets for coverage under the insurance overhaul bills moving through Congress.

    DIANE ROWLAND, executive vice president, Kaiser Family Foundation: It's quite reasonable that many of them can't afford health insurance coverage.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Diane Roland of the Kaiser Family Foundation is an expert on the uninsured.

  • DIANE ROWLAND:

    They're losing coverage through their parents' policy as they age. They're no longer eligible for the coverage under Medicaid that's offered to people under age 19.

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