Health insurance should not be required at U

By By Janice Kopaunik

By Janice Kopaunik

In 1948, the United Nations declared that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care.” Yet, to this day, more than 43 million Americans have no health insurance, and an estimated 50 million have inadequate coverage, up more than 2 million since last year. Most of these people go without for the simple reason that they can’t afford it.

The decreasing ability for many to get health insurance is partially to blame for the widening gap between rich and poor. Inadequate coverage causes 500,000 to declare personal bankruptcy every year because of medical bills. The poor have more health problems and suffer a lower life expectancy as well. The lack of health care has become a cyclic problem, spiraling out of control.

Education is one way that this problem may be remedied, giving people hope for a better life. Following the lead from many other universities, the U has decided to make advances toward fixing this growing problem. As soon as next spring, we might be required to have health insurance, and the university is offering a discounted insurance plan. This “affordable” $1,273 (on top of tuition, fees, books and transportation costs) surely will help many students, but not to the degree that the administration would hope. Requiring enrollment in a health care plan will cause more harm than good.

This additional burden will prove to break many students wallets. It will become a deciding factor in whether or not to come to school for many students faced with ever growing attendance costs. If passed, we are sure to see a decrease in university enrollment. The only thing it looks like this bill will succeed in is denying many the chance at a better education. In the late ’90s the U discontinued a similar requirement for the same reason. Has the administration already forgotten?

The U has no right to impose restrictions such as this upon us. There is a reason “starving students” is a commonly used term. After school and work we are left with little extra time or money. Health insurance is just not an option for many students. If the U is so concerned with our health, there are a multitude of other areas where they could try to improve our quality of life before making health insurance required. However, they seem determined to make this program happen.

Meanwhile, while we starve to pay for health care costs, the insurance companies continue to grow. They report record growth, quarter after quarter, though our health care system continues to be grossly inadequate. Health care is treated as a commodity in the United States, subject to the same demand and supply curves as household goods and luxuries — ensuring that it is out of reach for some.

In our current health care crisis, requiring insurance is not a solution. It only adds to the problem. The populations without health care, the same that the U are planning to help, are the same people who will be negatively affected by any mandatory insurance. By requiring that students have health insurance, the U will only succeed in denying people what will help them the most: a good education.

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