Expert stresses health care reform importance, relevance to students
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 23:09
As tensions rise in Washington D.C. surrounding the further implementation of the Affordable Care Act––and the attempted delay of the law by Republicans––a series of “anti-Obamacare” commercials aired this week, urging young Americans to “opt out” and not “let the government play doctor.”
David Nash, dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health, spoke to a crowded room Friday at the Center for Premedical and Health Professions Studies, stressing the importance of health care reform. State Marketplaces––which will allow health care purchasers to pick from various insurance plans––are slated to go live today. Consumers are required to sign up for health insurance by Dec. 15 with coverage going into effect Jan. 1.
“What are the Republicans doing––holding hostage the budget over this bill?” Nash said. “They should be ashamed of themselves. The funds have already been allocated, promised and distributed and the Supreme Court has already approved it, so there’s really nothing that can be done. This is just political grandstanding––nothing more than that.”
However, attempts to defund or repeal what is colloquially called “Obamacare” continue to occur, leaving the future of health care in uncertainty.
If the current health care system is not fixed, Nash said, there could be massive repercussions, such as job loss and further issues with the national deficit.
The United States ranks behind Slovenia at No. 17 worldwide on health care when measures of access, life expectancy, quality of life, morbidity and mortality are considered, Nash said. There is a discrepancy between the nation’s high spending and low outcomes, Nash said.
“We spent more on health care in the country than the entire GDP of France,” Nash said.
Philosophy professor Mark Greene stated in an email message that one of the biggest changes for students will be the ability to stay under their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26. Green said this tenet has already gone into effect.
As for the Marketplaces’ effect on students, Greene said time will tell what the impact will be on students, but it is a step in the right direction for Americans.
“There are obvious benefits for many students, like the ability to stay on parental insurance, but overall it’s a tricky question that depends on a mixture of value judgments and how things actually turn out,” Green said.
It is clear that Americans spend far more per person on health care than citizens of other countries, Green said. He said there is no evidence that this trend will be reversed.
Nash said young people are oftentimes discouraged from buying health care, thinking they are “invincible.” However, Nash said young citizens’ participation in health care is essential.
During the lecture, Nash provided statistics to show the low value of America’s health care dollars. He said the country spent an average of $8,000-$9,000 per person on health care in one year.
Senior Evelyn Rajan, who was in attendance for Nash’s presentation, said she thinks health care is a major issue in the country and she was surprised at the amount of college students who gave their time on a Friday night in order to learn about it.
“I’m glad there are so many college students here today, and I’m glad that a lot of people are interested in going into public health or into the health care field,” Rajan said. “I’m happy to see that people our age are interested in the health services field.”
Greene said students should make sure to review their health care status, especially regarding the new mandatory insurance requirements. He said once the Marketplaces go into effect, students should peruse their new options for plans if they are unable to stay under their parents’ health coverage.
Greene said if the Congressional situation is not resolved, the nation’s citizens could face large consequences.
“If Congressional posturing gets so bad that the Affordable Care Act actually is defunded, everyone will have plenty of cause for concern,” Greene said.