The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Opposing Viewpoints: Students Applaud ‘Obamacare’

2 min read

College students have much to celebrate over Obama’s health care reform.

One in six Americans does not have health insurance. A major portion is students that have lost their coverage almost immediately after graduating college. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 30 percent of people 26 and younger do not have health care.

If you are dependent on your parent’s employer for health care services, you cannot extend this coverage once you graduate.

In the world of insurance companies, the false implication exists that students have economic opportunity eagerly awaiting them after their graduation ceremonies.

This puts a steep burden on the graduated student attempting to find a job instantly to avoid losing their coverage.

As students, we understand the financial load upon our shoulders. While paying for a myriad of academic expenses, it is amazing we still have the money to feed ourselves, let alone carry the weight of health insurance.

This trend will continue no longer.

Under Obama’s new plan, young adults can list themselves as dependent until age 26, regardless of if they’re in college, or even if they live at home.

Health and Human Services claim that in 2011, over one million young adults will be able to stay on their parent’s health insurance.

The good news does not end here. Obama’s plan also ends all discriminatory practices on behalf of insurance companies; these companies can no longer deny care based on age. Gross generalizations will no longer be the reason young adults pay such high costs or buy restricted coverage.

The government is enforcing these policies on behalf of businesses too. It is now mandatory for companies with a minimum of 50 employees to provide health insurance to all workers.

Those employees earning less than $88,000 will be eligible for government subsidies with the intention of making insurance as affordable as possible.

The most surprising element of the bill essentially has nothing to do with health care in the United States, but implicitly impacts how students pay for college. Hidden within this massive bill is the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act.

The largest federal student loan program is the Federal Family Education Loan Program. In this system, money never went directly to students, but offered generous subsidies to private lenders who would lend to students.

Now, with the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, the old system will be completely eliminated and money will go directly to students, basically cutting out the middleman.

The Direct Loan Program would replace the Federal Family Education Loan Program. This new program takes federal money and puts it directly into the pockets of students.

This saves the federal government $61 billion dollars, which would largely be used for Pell Grants, to help students with financial need.

Whether you believe health care is a right or a privilege is irrelevant. There is no denying that this bill fundamentally makes college more affordable, as well as relieves stress in the competitive world that exists outside the college campus.