During a speech to support President Barack Obama’s health care law, former President Bill Clinton offered a juicy bit of polling data about one of the law’s provisions -- one that allows young Americans to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies up to the age of 26. He said more young Republicans are on their parents’ plans than young Democrats.
Clinton, speaking at his presidential center in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 4, 2013, said the option to stay on a parent’s policy up to age 26 is a key element of Obama’s law, because it helps keep younger Americans covered. Some young people, presuming they won’t ever get sick, might otherwise be tempted to skip purchasing insurance coverage altogether.
Clinton went on to cite data from recent polling by the Commonwealth Fund showing that "large numbers of young people aged 26 and younger have already enrolled in their parents' plans. And interestingly enough -- if I were you guys, I'd promote this, (saying) these Republicans are the personal responsibility party -- there are more young Republicans enrolled in their parents' plans than young Democrats."
The irony that young supporters of the GOP -- the party that has repeatedly tried to repeal or defund Obama’s law -- are actually using this part of the law more than young Democrats are led to chuckles in the audience.
We wondered: Is Clinton’s tidbit correct?
We turned to the Commonwealth Fund study in question. The fund is a 95-year-old group that aims to "promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults." The fund is nonpartisan but generally seen as supportive of Obama’s law.
The fund conducted two polls of young Americans -- one taken in November 2011, the other taken in February and March 2013. Unlike traditional telephone polls, this survey uses Internet respondents drawn from a sample that, by design, closely mirrors the demographic patterns of the population at large. In 2013, the pollsters invited 3,530 adults aged 19 to 29 to complete the 2013 online questionnaire. More than half responded, producing a margin of sampling error of slightly more than 3 percentage points.
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