In 2008, 43.6 million people under 65 did not have health care and the number continues to rise. This staggering statistic, courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, illustrates what dire need Americans have for universal health care. We Americans need a plan that will fill in the holes Medicare leaves for our Grandmothers and Grandparents, a plan that will lower health care costs all around, while increasing accessibility. A plan we already have: President Obama’s Health Care Reform.
Now many of you may think, “What does health care reform have to do with me?” and that’s understandable. Why should you worry about rising health care costs and whether or not you’ll be able to afford it when you finally take your first step off campus onto the big stage we call life? You’re perfectly comfortable in your false sense of security and health and you want to continue in blissful ignorance. Who am I to tell you otherwise? I’m just another idiotic freshman trying to champion a cause, but let me lay a little knowledge onto those of you who are still reading.
According to Kaiser Permanente in 2007, the largest managed care organization in the United States, 20 percent of adults aged 19 to 29 (13 million) do not have healthcare and guess what? When you finish up your degree, you won’t either. You lose that nice, cozy cloak of health insurance which up until that last credit was either free or cheap. So you better keep your eyes open because if you happen to fall down a flight of stairs and break a rib, take an ambulance to the hospital emergency room, be treated and sent home, you are likely to receive a bill in excess of ten thousand dollars. Also for the added benefit of not having health care, the hospital will actually charge you more.
If you haven’t read a newspaper in the last year, then you may not have noticed that our country is in a recession and a recession means that we have fewer jobs, increased employee payment share and overall rising health care costs. For the class of 2009, companies expected to hire 22 percent fewer graduates according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Conditions have not improved for the class of 2010. Obama’s health care reform will make it possible for these graduates to have the health care that they need, that you need.
Obama’s plan takes steps to reform our system by expanding coverage, improving quality, lowering costs, honoring patient choice and holding insurance companies accountable. To keep people healthy and provide more efficient treatment, the plan promotes smart, preventative care. The Obama plan also stresses making critical investments in electronic health records technology that can reduce errors while insuring privacy and saving lives. No plan is perfect, but it’s certainly preferable to the current health care system.
Health care reform is and has been needed for a long time. We are finally on the precipice of affordable health care for all. As college students, we have the privilege and duty to fight for our futures and the futures of our families.