November 24, 2009

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 7

Health care reform starts all kinds of controversy

Health care reform starts all kinds of controversy

Health care reform starts all kinds of controversy

On Nov. 7, the House of Representatives, needing a majority of 218 of the 435 representatives, passed the Health Reform (H.R. 3962) bill with a 220 to 215 vote in favor of the bill. As part of President Barack Obama's platform to reform the current health care system, the bill proposes to "provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance, coverage for those who don't, and will lower the cost of health care for our families, our business, and our government."

The 1,990-page bill was passed by 219 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Joe Cao. All other Republicans voted "nay," joined by 39 Democrats. According to Fox News, Cao voted "yes" based on the people of Louisiana. "I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents," Cao said of his vote.
Some students, such as NU senior Sarah Potter, have the same thought. "There are a lot of people who don't have health care at all. I think everybody should have (it)."

The bill will attempt to provide coverage for 96 percent of Americans, according to Rep. John Dingell . Healthreform.gov offers some insight as to what the future may hold if the Senate passes the bill. For those who have insurance, it, "prevents insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick," and, "caps out-of-pocket expenses so people don't go broke when they get sick."

For those who do not currently have insurance, it "creates a new insurance marketplace - the Exchange - that allows people without insurance and small businesses to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive prices."

Tunde Adepegba, a junior at NU, believes this bill to be a "step in the right direction." He says that insurance costs are too high. "Insurance companies have the government by the neck," he says. "Capitalism runs insurance. Greed runs insurance. We cannot allow this to persist."

The bill also claims that the new system "won't add a dime to the deficit and is paid for up-front." However, the bill will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion, and MSNBC estimates that, "by 2017, consumers and taxpayers will spend more than $4 trillion on health care, accounting for $1 of every $5 spent, the federal government projects." Fox News also adds that Medicare's spending would be cut and a tax surcharge of 5.4 percent would be imposed on individuals who earn $500,000 or more, and families who make $1 million or more.

This causes some NU students to be wary of the bill. Josh Jensen, a senior, says, "The passage of H.R. 3962 is just another in a long line of Nancy Pelosi and her liberal cohorts overreaching regarding domestic policy in this country. This government takeover ... will result in lower quality care for Americans, a dramatic increase in federal bureaucracy, and cause a cut of over $500 billion in Medicare funding for our nation's seniors."

NU senior Amanda Krueger thinks that the cost is not worth it. "It is going to cost the country so much and it is going to require all businesses to provide health care to their employees," she says. "I think this reform is going to eliminate small businesses."

Speaking on a personal note, Krueger adds, "My uncle owns his own landscaping business, and if he had to do that he wouldn't make it."

Even though H.R. 3962 passed the House of Representatives, it was not without some initial change. An amendment was passed to prohibit federal funds for abortions. "The measure denied the use of federal subsidies to purchase abortion coverage in policies sold by private insurers in the new insurance exchange, except in cases of incest, rape or when the life of the mother was in danger." The amendment was proposed by Democrats who oppose abortion, and was passed in a vote of 240 to 194.

Crystal Brea, a NU junior, says that she understands that the abortion amendment was added in order to get the bill passed, but "it's a reverse step, because it infringes on a woman's right to choose decided from (The United State Supreme Court) decision of Roe v. Wade."

The issue of health care reform seems to be a controversial issue among the American people. While some support it, others are against it. In a Gallup poll conducted after the bill was passed in the House of Representatives, 41 percent believed that the bill would improve the health care system for the better, whereas 40 percent believed it would make it worst. The remaining 19 percent believed either it would not make much of a difference or had no opinion. For now, the future of the bill rests in the hands of the 100 members of the Senate.

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