Dec 11, 2018

Students need health care too

Twenty-two, full-time student with a part-time job. That description, give or take some years and a variation in college units and gender, fits many of us on this campus.

For most, the job we currently hold is merely to pay for bills, food and the occasional “let’s cross our fingers the bartender forgot the last two drinks” bar tab. We don’t maintain it out of passion or enjoyment. It’s more than likely not even a so-called stepping stone, just some temporary kid job to pay for our years as students.

The problem with these mindless jobs is that not only are the wages low, they don’t provide basic health coverage.

Considering this lack of coverage, it’s a wonder college students haven’t joined the heated health care reform discussion.

Most college students don’t face the reality of throwing a hip out or having to pay for their Alzheimer’s meds. Extra pounds, alcohol, perhaps even drug abuse aside, college students are a relatively healthy bunch.

This relative health, and the perception of being “invincible” that is often associated with the young, probably accounts for the lack of attention to health care by the college group.

But should this really be so? At a time when the federal government is proposing to reform the way the country handles health care, any person uninsured should not be sitting on the sidelines.

The days when a new college graduate could be certain of finding a respectable job with benefits are gone. In this economy I’ll feel fortunate just to find a job in my preferred field, forget demanding the security of full-time hours and benefits.

Right now I’m covered under my dad’s insurance, but as soon as graduation day comes I, along with thousands of others, will be left behind with not even a student health center to resort to.

I’m not quite sure how a program should be formulated, funded or even implemented. Perhaps it could resemble the Japanese system of an individual payment that is proportional to a person’s income. Perhaps only the most basic and preventive health care should be provided, with future expansions in the works. What I do know is that it is imperative for there to be more health care options beyond the rigid private system.

Apparently the status quo works for those with their upper-middle-class fists raised in the air, spit spewing from angry faces as they shout to the unlucky fellow on the podium.

But it does not work for people like me.

And until real reform comes, are we to rely on luck and hope we don’t suffer a medical condition that could leave us thousands of dollars in the hole? Falling through the cracks is what they call it, I think. But even that phrase is misleading. It makes one assume the numbers are small enough to fit “cracks” when in reality there’s a football field-sized ditch crammed with the uninsured.

Sensationalist phrases warn of “socialized medicine” and “portion size health care” while the nightly news shows the wildness of yet another town hall meeting. This merely serves to distract from the gravity of the situation.

Let us not be diverted to exaggerations founded on elitist ideals. The task at hand should be to work toward a health care system that works for all people, not just the ones with the power, and health, to raise their fists.

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