Breaking down healthcare reform: points that matter

By Alexandra Siegel

After raking in a House vote of 220 to 207, President Barack Obama finally signed his highly-anticipated healthcare bill into law on March 21.

“Tonight, after nearly a hundred years of talk and frustration … the United States Congress finally declared that America’s workers and America’s families and America’s small businesses deserve the security of knowing that here in this country, neither illness nor accident should endanger the dreams they worked a lifetime to achieve,” Obama said, moments after the House passed the bill.

In the days following, some called the bill’s passing an amazing historical feat while others deemed it was too radical and rushed.

“I think that this is a big turning point in the history of America,” said Christie Onyechi, a junior journalism major. “Universal health care is something that president Clinton was trying to do but couldn”t. Even though there’s a debate about it, this is still a big turning point, whether positive or negative. I personally think it”s a positive, but people find a negative in everything Obama does.”

Some students said they especially liked the fact that the plan will allow young people to stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26.

“Once I get out of school and I’m looking to pay off my school bills, I don’t want to have to worry about paying for insurance too,” said Emmy Lutes, a freshman political science major.

But others, like freshman nursing major Christine Conroy, said the bill was passed too hastily.

“I think it is extremely rushed and this is all Obama”s attempt to put another feather in his cap,” Conroy said. “I think it’s a dangerous experiment and we’re not sure how it’s going to turn out. There are other ideas that could have been implemented, smaller reforms. Comprehensive reform was so grand and attractive that that’s what Obama went for and it’s going to hurt our country.”

Michael Dukakis, former Democrat Massachusetts governor and Northeastern professor of political science, said he worked on universal health care during his three terms in office and was surprised by the unanimous rejection of the bill by Republicans.

“I’m baffled by the Republicans, quite frankly, because I worked with a lot of moderate Republicans in my political career and a lot of them were very supportive of health care during my term,” he said. “Last night [March 21] I felt like I was in a time warp listening to Regan saying Medicare would rob us of our freedoms. I have to conclude that these people don’t know what’s going on in a great deal of America.”
Dukakis cited certain communities within the United States as proof of the dire need for health care.

“I spent time at a community health center in southern Los Angeles, [Calif.] If it weren’t for these community health centers, this place would be a third world country. Their infant mortality rate is higher than Cuba. The Republicans must be on a different planet,” he said. “Every industrialized nation in the world provides comprehensive healthcare to its people.”

Edward Haynes, a freshman international affairs major, said that coming from England, this new system simply makes more sense.

“We have the government-controlled system so you get everything paid for and if you want to, you can use private practice,” he said. “You get the best of the best. You can be anyone and you can get the best doctors.”

Obama announced on Sunday that this healthcare bill will help reduce our deficit by “over a $100 billon in the next decade and more than $1 trillion in the decade after.”

“I think what passed is a start,” said Bruce Wallin, professor of political science, “I think that it involves some compromises that had to be made. But my hope is that once you start, that’s the biggest hurdle and then you have the opportunity to make adjustments as you learn more in implementing the program.”

Leave a Reply