OPINION: Health care reform makes life easier for uninsured students

By Matt Gomez
The Guardsman

Health care was reformed last month, and while the effects may not yet be evident, benefits for students could be great in the future.

Although this reform does not bring the country closer to a universal, single-payer system or include a public option, it will make necessary changes to what many consider a corrupt handling of people’s health.

Children of policyholders will now be allowed to stay covered under their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26. This means there will be less of a financial burden for those who may have been told not to get sick because they don’t have insurance.

It also means, students will be able to focus more on school if they aren’t constantly concerned with either paying for their own insurance or risking their life by having none. When jobs are scarce and school alone is hard to pay for, one less bill, or the assurance of access to medical care, is appreciated.

The bill was also bundled with reform that concerns the student loan program. Instead of private banks lending government loans to students, the government itself will loan the money, essentially eliminating the middle man who wasn’t necessary in the first place.

This will save taxpayers some $68 billion. President Obama plans to re-invest the savings into education. His re-investment will increase Pell Grants, help students pay off loans and upgrade community colleges.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, this reform will cost about $950 billion over the next decade, but will lower federal deficits by $148 billion.  It will also extend coverage to 32 million previously uninsured people.

Republicans in office, who hope to see the reform fail, are calling this bill the Democrats’ Waterloo.

Democrats, of course, see this as their greatest victory in a long time.

Each side hopes to prevail, but the victory of this reform is owed to the people of this country – the people whom both Republican and Democratic congressman are elected to represent.

The U.S. is not the superpower it once was and it will take time to regain that status. That can’t be achieved by constant bickering between two parties who dislike each other solely because they hold different ideals.

The Democrats compromised a lot for this bill to become reality. Now that it is, both parties need to take every possible step to see this opportunity is not wasted because some grown-ups in Washington want to be able to say, “I told you so.” $1 trillion is still $1 trillion.

This bill could be a Waterloo or a victory, it all depends on how the situation is handled. This reform isn’t a revolution and it still hasn’t granted anyone anything, but it does present an opportunity with the potential to change the lives of many citizens of this country.

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