America: Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

I don't know everything there is to know about this health care bill Congress is trying to pass in the next week (of course, many of these congressmen/congresswomen have no idea what's in this bill either). But one thing I was reading this morning reinforced my irritation towards this bill, suggesting that we're cutting corners in a process that will affect our entire country's population. Part of the proposed health care bill is a requirement that dependent children will be allowed to stay on their parent's health care plan until the age of 26. Even though there are already similar laws on the books of some states (Illinois, I believe, allows this) this is not a good idea.

Think about it: we already recognize that delayed adulthood is an issue in our country but this federal law would practically endorse it. I'm not out of touch: I fully understand that these are harsh economic times and many recent college grads are struggling to find employment opportunities, but why do we have to legislate a quick fix that will not solve the issue? Merely looking at language of the law— basically, calling a 26 year-old a child— highlights the ridiculousness of our society. There are psychological effects to this that I'm not convinced our Congress has explored.

Our problem is that we don't know how to deal with twenty-somethings. We will give them all the rights of adulthood (tobacco, alcohol, gambling, sex) and expect little to nothing in return; this, friends, is how we arrive at The Jersey Shore and every VH1 reality show. Allowing a person in the mid-twenties to be classified as a child/dependent will have repercussions throughout our society, causing us to marginalize these young adults as almost grown-up. Instead of expecting less of them, we should demand more. When we treat them like grown-children, we do them (and us) a great disservice. Ultimately, America suffers when we don't let people become adults.

At age twenty-two, I was out of my parents house, employed, married, living in an apartment, and already saving for retirement. I'm not saying this is the best plan for everyone but I knew that, when college was over, it was my time to step up and be a man.

I know this is just one facet of the health care bill, but the lack of attention to detail here demonstrates that Congress should call a do-over; we do need reform, but not this. They can still improve the lives of millions of Americans without demeaning the lives of millions of others.