By Karis Rogerson and Meredith Schellin
Over half of Asbury students (62.6 percent) consider themselves educated regarding recent health care reforms, but opinions differ regarding the benefits for the collegiate age group.
The healthcare reform colloquially known as “Obamacare” is a law, passed in 2010, that “requires all Americans to obtain health insurance or face a penalty fine,” according to the BBC.
BBC also stated that this health care reform is “Obama’s single biggest domestic achievement.”
The law is officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
“PPACA is actually a collection of numerous reforms of the American health care system to address the problems of unsustainable medical costs in America and 50,000,000 Americans without health insurance,” said Dr. David Cecil, associate professor and chair of the behavioral sciences department at Asbury.
Some areas of reform include, “Regulating the private health insurance system,” Cecil said.
This includes not denying insurance for pre-existing conditions and allowing people to stay on their parents’ healthcare plan until the reach the age of 26.
Cecil added that he sees three major factors that contributed to why politicians deemed it necessary to enact such reforms.
First, he said, was, “The rapidly-escalating costs of health insurance and medical care.” Cecil also believed that poor performance on World Health Organization indicators and the increased number of citizens lacking health care contributed.
He added that this is not the first time the country has sought to implement such reforms. Such ideas, he said, go back to the 1940s and the Truman administration.
With college being widely considered a huge transition period between childhood dependence and adult independence, many people in their 20s start making decisions about everything from cellphone to health insurance plans.
Out of 211 students who responded to a Collegian SurveyMonkey poll, 80.1 percent (169) said they believe PPACA will affect their daily lives. In addition, 85.7 percent said they are not happy with the reforms.
Sophomore Philip Lambert feared that the reform will force him to pay for public healthcare as a college student. “My family is in a very low income bracket, and I pay for my own health insurance. I have the cheapest premium I could find, with just enough coverage to satisfy the mandatory insurance requirement at Asbury,” Lambert said.
He added, “I fear that the new regulations will drive up the costs of lower-end plans, which may force me to go with a public option. In my experience, public healthcare programs of this type are severely mismanaged, and make it very difficult for subscribers to get treatment, especially for uncommon illnesses.”
Additionally, senior Thomas Walters stated that “Obamacare is a masked means of gradually stripping American citizens of their freedoms by taking more of their income under the guise of an affordable way to ensure healthy and happy citizens.”
He continued to say that he understands his opposition to PPACA might be considered radical by many but added that he feels compelled to stand against small changes and to prevent a further attack on individual freedom.
“Obamacare is a small step towards individual citizens being ruled by the government that coaxed them into willingly surrendering their rights,” Walters said.
There were, however, students—17.7 percent of poll respondents—who were happy with the changes.
Emily Burton said she is excited because, “Now, hardworking students like me who have jobs and a family, but whose employers don’t provide them with insurance, can finally have the health care they deserve as human beings,” Burton said.
Senior Beth Purvis added that, “Obamacare is actually very beneficial for us,” stating several of the reasons Cecil said were the effects of the reform, as well as women’s entitlement to free birth control and equal rates between genders. Purvis also pointed out that, “If someone makes under 16,000 a year, they are eligible for Medicaid.”
Junior Will McBride remained neutral, saying, “Obama isn’t inherently evil as many people would like to believe. This is good legislature being out into effect at the wrong time.” He added that healthcare reforms are a necessity, but he did not believe the economy is able to handle it at the present.
Cecil encouraged students, whatever their opinion may be, not to make any uneducated decisions when deciding their views on the healthcare reform. “Work to read and understand,” he said. “Very few people have really stopped to read through all of the details of PPACA. Consider it both through your political lens as well as practical effects in your life.”