November 24, 2013
It’s a Thursday night, the air is cold and the teenage girls are colder. They all know each other but sit in cliques making fun of each other just loud enough for their prey and a few close people to hear. Each girl is wearing the same outfit their parents bought them, complete with designer jeans tucked in to boots, a north face jacket and a look of contempt for the others around them. All the excitement they show is not for the Catching Fire, a movie they’ve been “waiting to see for like, months,” but at each dig they have for each other.
All the girls are “probably on [their parents’] health insurance”- as far as they know, but have no idea what it means. But they do know about the Affordable Care Act.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) has created massive changes for Americans of all generations. One of the largest demographics already feeling the effects of those changes are American children. According to US News and World Reports, “the rates of uninsured children are at a record low. Still, one in 10 — or 7.6 million — children in the United States is uninsured, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.” Their site also states that unlike their parents, children don’t have to wait until January to get insurance, even if their parents are uninsured, because “most are already eligible for coverage today.”
The fact that these girls could probably build a better website than the US government is probably not one of the reasons why they don’t like it.
“I don’t like Obama care,” a girl, 13, said. “Because it’s taking the money away… from the economy.” Girl one was able to get the whole sentence out before the other five BFFs started interrupting each other and making fun of their answers.
After senseless chatter and insults, they let their friend continue.
“My name is [Girl 1] and what I know about Obama care is that it’s taxing us for people who are not fortunate and can’t get healthcare so it’s giving them the taxes so that they can get healthcare and getting them jobs.”
But to the teenage girls, it’s doing a lot more than that. It’s also, like, taking money away from doctors and other people, and CFOs, and other people that are very important, and taking their money away from them and its giving them to like the poor people who can’t afford it.
“It impacts me because if I go to the doctor it’s a lot more expensive [for my parents],” she said making sure to emphasize that she isn’t poor.
But to her, the stakes are still like, high.
“And it’s taking money and taxes from my mom’s job,” she said. “If my parents are divorced it’s a lot different and my mom needs her money and if they keep taxing us, I won’t have money.”
She’s not the only one who totally wouldn’t have money. Her “friend” chimed in that she won’t have money, “for like college and stuff” either. But, afraid of sounding totally retarded, she let girl one continue.
“I won’t have money for like college and I need it for a car and other important things and supporting my sister in college and it impacts me because,” she said.
But her friend totes had to jump in on that, and started interrupting. I assumed it was to say something like “You’re dumb, we can stay on our parents insurance until we are like 26, instead of opting in to employer or public insurance.” I was like totally relieved when she said. “He didn’t ask for a novel.”
Girl one continued talking. “So I don’t agree with Obamacare and I don’t agree with Obama because if they need health care they can work for it,” she said.
To many Americans, the Affordable Care Act is a confusing mess. But these girls had it figured out. I went up to a girl, 16, to ask if she was as wise as the girls she was trying so hard to ignore.
“The only stuff that I like know about it is from like my parents talking about it,” she said. “So I don’t really know anything.”
This gem of a comment was ruined the second she tried to be as wise as her younger counterparts.
“I mean like, besides that its taking like our money to give things to the people that don’t have like insurance and stuff like that,” she said. She looked over at the 13-year-olds and realized she definitely had to like, redeem herself so she kept talking.
“But I don’t think you like have to have Obama care because isn’t it with Obama care you like have to have insurance? Like, you have to have it?” she said. “I think you should choose like if you need it or not and not have to pay like a penalty fee.”
The Affordable Care Act is like obviously a big deal and its impact on America’s children is totes real, and we like, definitely need to teach them what the heck it means.