The College Democrats recently met to discuss ideas and future goals concerning health care and what the newly-enacted Affordable Care Act means to students.
Club President Kenneth Meador said according to the Center of Disease Control, the U.S. houses 46 to 50 million people who don’t have any type of health care coverage, which is 15 to 20 percent of the entire population.
He said a 2005 study showed more than 50 percent of all bankruptcies are the result of expensive health care or from people losing health care altogether because of unemployment.
For example, Meador said, prior to the Act going into effect, someone who had to take time off of work to receive medical attention might be fired for missing too much work and lose their health care benefits altogether.
He said although there is no quick fix, he believes the Affordable Care Act will help people of all ages with varying conditions including pre-existing conditions which, in the past, insurance companies didn’t cover.
The bill will require everyone to purchase health insurance and will offer help to some in paying for that insurance.
“The bill will inflict penalties if a person has not retained a policy by Jan. 1, 2014, and is based on their personal income,” Meador said.
“If you make no money, you will pay nothing, and if you make very little you will pay a small fine.”
According to the White House website, the Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by the president in March 2010, gives citizens “better health security by putting in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that hold insurance companies accountable, lower health care costs, guarantee more choice, and enhance the quality of care for all Americans.”
Meador said he has hopes the bill will fix some of the current problems with healthcare.
“Children were being turned away for health issues such as asthma,” he said.
Meador said now that the new legislation is in effect companies can no longer deny those children coverage.
He said the package also will help senior citizens with their prescriptions, while closing what lawmakers call the “donut hole.” The bill also promotes lowering the price of medication.
“If an immediate rise to the cost of healthcare means adults and children get the coverage they need, then it’s worth it.”
Meador said the bill is already law, but is up for further discussion to solidify terms.
He said health care is not an issue that will be solved overnight, but said it is important that strides are made to find a beneficial outcome so citizens can begin to receive the coverage they deserve.
“This is something that affects everyone and in the long run, hopefully, it will be a wise economic choice for our country,” Meador said.
For more information, visit www.healthcare.gov. For the bill, visit the Pioneer Online at www.occc.edu/pioneer.