Young voters, health care key election factors

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A popular meme notes that 18- to 30-year-olds are the largest voting bloc for this year’s election, and should exercise that right.

Statistics on the health and outlook for millennials point to issues that should be of concern them and Generation Z and all upcoming generations.

Neither Obamacare nor the Republicans’ unmet promise to repeal and replace it have resulted in better health for younger Americans.

Although they’re generally better educated than previous generations, that comes at a cost. Largely because of college debt, they’re delaying health care, resulting in more medical debt and poorer health than their parents or older siblings.

It’s no secret that we’re becoming an obese country, and a recent study found that millennials are almost five times as likely as baby boomers to develop kidney cancer at the same age.

Blue Cross Blue Shield found that a third of millennials have a lower life expectancy, and compared to Gen Xers of the same age, and older millennials have more Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and major depression. They’re also having more accidents and suicides than the Gen Xers.

The majority of millennials don’t have regular checkups, and while more of them have graduated from high school, they have an average of $25,000 of student debt and financial worries stemming from the great recession of 2008.

In 2016, research found that millennials had roughly $36,000 less in total assets, $5,000 more in total debt and $41,000 less in net worth than Gen Xers did at a comparable age in 2001.

Yet, they’re spending nearly twice as much on health care as the previous two generations.

At the same time, millennials are easier to care for, willing to use urgent care centers, retail clinics, virtual visits or concierge care practices as their regular form of primary care.

They’re also quick to adapt fitness trackers and use apps that keep track of vital signs and even deliver them to healthcare providers via smartphone apps.

Officials who deliver real progress in improving healthcare and reducing cost will be hard to beat in future elections.

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