Who Cares about Healthcare? We Do.

Although an abstract issue, students have definite opinions on healthcare policy

Illustrator: Peyton Garcia

Healthcare legislation involves mounds of paperwork, literally. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations filled over 30,000 pages, a seven-foot stack, with abstract terms like “deductible,” “essential benefits,” and “rider.” This mix of elaborate regulation and jargon makes healthcare an issue I struggle to understand.

I wondered what other students thought. Did they barely comprehend healthcare like me? Or did they feel strongly about the issue? I went to find out.

Jonas, a freshman, said the GOP’s repeal and replace efforts would “absolutely screw over [his] family.”

“My mother is disabled with a chronic illness,” he said, “and the ACA has helped immensely with costs of medication as well as insurance costs.” The ACA also helps Jonas access his own doctors, mental health care, and medications at little to no cost.

In contrast, Ellie, a sophomore, admitted she didn’t fully understand the GOP’s efforts. The difference between Jonas and Ellie’s perspectives demonstrates that while some need to understand healthcare specifics because of health or financial circumstances, for others, like Ellie and myself, the issue is less imminent.

Charging for healthcare is like seeing someone drowning, having the ability to help, but charging before rescuing them.

Gisselle, a sophomore, and Lew, a freshman, viewed healthcare in broader terms. Gisselle thought healthcare should be universal, not run by corporations. Charging for healthcare is like seeing someone drowning, having the ability to help, but charging before rescuing them. She thought raising taxes could remedy healthcare: “I’m willing to pay more money for someone to get the help they need,” she said.

Lew compared international healthcare models. Under Europe’s single payer system, everyone receives healthcare, but in America, single payer isn’t considered an option. Instead, we debate lesser evils—should 28,000 die under the ACA without access to care or 50,000 under the GOP plan? Lew also thinks media coverage restricts our options by focusing on only two solutions—Democratic or Republican—and ignoring alternatives.

“It is vital that we break the two-party mold and think about solutions to our healthcare crisis that actually work for average Americans,” Lew said. And with that I completely agree.