By Eun Sil Kang and Andras Gal
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, March 3, 2008 9:00 AM
While the U.S. presidential candidates have debate the feasibility of their opponent's health care plans, the rising cost of healthcare has emerged as a major concern among a young electorate buzzing with ideas about how to solve the country's health care crisis.
According to online interviews conducted last month by American University graduate journalism students, health care ranks as the third most pressing concern among young voters aged 18-to-29, surpassed only by the economy and Iraq.
Survey respondents had varying opinions about health care affordability. While the majority said they think they'll have health care in the future, not everyone believes this to be true.
When asked if they believe they will be able to afford health insurance in the next five years, two-thirds of respondents said yes, while one-third said no or "not sure."
Many young voters surveyed said that the issue of health care affects everyone, regardless of social class or age.
"Rich people and poor people both get sick, injured and hurt," said a male freshman from the University of Central Florida. "Having a system in place that doesn't discriminate on 'who can pay me more' is needed."
Rosia Warner, a pre-medical studies major at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said that she supports a federal program such as universal healthcare coverage to help the general population.
"[Health care] affects everyone, whether young or old, and ultimately everyone is going to need it," Warner said.
Other young voters said that universal healthcare is not the answer.
"I think that it is a great idea, but how are we going to pay for it? It will come out of tax-paying money ... and we are already faced with debt and people are already struggling to pay bills," said Catherine Corrai, a sophomore politics and government major at Ohio Wesleyan University. "I do not think that this is a policy that the government should deal with. There are bigger problems that we will face."