Health care reform bill to impact young and old people alike

Ashley Sepanski

A 219-212 vote in the House of Representatives passed the long-debated health care bill and extended coverage to millions Sunday.

Students are now presented with a myriad of changes and options regarding health insurance, some of which will come into effect this year and others that won’t begin until 2014.

Under the new health care system, parents can now choose to keep their children on their insurance plan until they turn 26. Megan Morris, junior athletic training major, said the coverage is now one less thing to worry about after graduation.

“It’s great for people like my brother who go to grad school and don’t have a job right after they finish undergrad,” Morris said.

According to an article in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Gov. Jim Doyle said most parents won’t pay more for family plans when keeping children

under their insurance.

Another change included in the bill prohibits insurance companies from denying or overcharging Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.

But Alyssa Moyer, freshman middle childhood education major, said she’s uncertain about the bill.

“I feel that America’s very impatient,” Moyer said. “I think it may not work in the beginning.”

The bill also forces companies that are not required to offer health coverage, to be held to an employer responsibility policy. If companies with more than 50 workers refuse to provide health insurance to employees, they will be fined $2,000 per worker.

Sophomore history major Hannah Dodds said the fines, to be mandated by 2014, are an acceptable step toward universal coverage.

“I believe that all employers should provide some kind of health care for employees,” Dodds said.

Overall, feelings from students toward the bill are mixed.

“I think it’s fantastic the bill passed,” said Chadd Smith, junior political science major and president of College Democrats. “It’s not perfect, but it’s a great first step. It’s going to do a great job reducing the (budget) deficit, and it’s going to help millions of people, so I’m excited about it.”

The $940 billion spent over the next 10 years is expected to reduce the budget deficit by $138 billion, according to

Dodds said the bill, despite the deficit reduction, was rushed and shouldn’t have passed.

“I think they should do what’s best for the majority and not the minority,” she said. “I think it’s going to cause more problems than it solves.”

Contact health reporter Ashley Sepanski at [email protected].