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August 26, 2009
People under age 36 form the dominant component of America's 45 million uninsured. Among them, the ages most lacking in health insurance are those in their 20s. You and I know them: They are just out of school, in entry-level or part-time jobs, or between jobs. They are usually blessed with good health, however much they may take it for granted. And they are relatively inexpensive healthwise, compared with those over 60 (by a factor of five or more), because they are spared age-related chronic diseases that consume most of the healthcare dollar, like atherosclerosis clogging arteries of the heart and other organs, degenerating bones and brains, and the vast majority of cancers. Young people have less expensive needs: preventive and primary care and assurance that they will be covered if they do encounter that infrequent, costly, unexpected catastrophic health event.