Eric Hovde says young adults should not remain on parents' health insurance policies - TAI News
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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde speaks at a rally for former President Donald Trump in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde was secretly recorded calling the popular Affordable Care Act provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26 a stupid idea.

Hovde, a millionaire bank executive and real estate developer, is the Wisconsin Republican Party’s endorsed candidate in the Aug. 13 Senate primary election. If he prevails, he will face Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

According to the progressive outlet Heartland Signal, an unidentified attendee at the Outagamie County Fair in June approached Hovde and suggested that a portion of the 2010 law, commonly known as Obamacare, encourages young people to be lazy. 

“It’s a stupid idea for this reason. All we’re doing is delaying younger people’s maturation,” Hovde replied. “And they need to grow up and move on and stand on their own two feet. And by the way, your lowest health care costs are when you’re 21 to 26.” 

According to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fact sheet, young adults are statistically the most likely group to be uninsured — about 30% do not have insurance — and have the lowest rate of access to employer-based insurance. Many in entry-level jobs and part-time jobs do not get an employer-sponsored health insurance plan and are vulnerable if they get insured or sick. 

The Affordable Care Act made a dent in the problem: According to the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund, about 6.6 million more young adults were able to gain or keep health insurance thanks to the provision in 2011 alone. 

Baldwin helped pass the law and has backed further legislation to improve the health care system.

Hovde unsuccessfully ran for the same Senate seat in 2012, proposing a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In a debate that August, he was asked if he backed any parts of the law, such as protections for people with preexisting conditions and letting young adults remain on family plans until age 26. “No,” Hovde answered. “I believe that the problem with our health care sector over the last 30 years has been ever-increasing government involvement.”

That July, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans until they were 26 would slow maturity: “I understand it but I also am concerned that we continue to extend, how do you say this, you continue to extend a variation of childhood far too long.”

During that same campaign, Hovde told the WisconsinEye news network that he backed higher insurance premiums for those living with obesity, claiming that people choose to become obese. “It’s a personal choice,” he said, according to an article shared by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, “but there should be consequences to those personal choices. Fine, you want to do that, you become obese, your health care is going to cost more. Or, the quality—or not the quality, but the amount of health care may go down, because you may not have the money to afford it.”

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