Obama signs health care bill into law

For college students across the
country, health care will soon be one less
thing they have to worry about.

After months of debate and
controversy, President Barack Obama
signed a new universal health care plan
into law yesterday after a historic vote
by the House of Representatives of 219-
212.

Under the new law, adult dependent
children up to the age of 26 can be
covered under their parent’s employer provided insurance.

This new standard, which will go into
effect September 2010, will take off some
of the pressure to find a job with benefits immediately after graduation.

Anjali Bhardwaj, a graduate student,
said she thinks that college students will
benefit the most from this new plan.

“In my opinion, I think because
they’ll be covered until they’re 26, it’ll
make it easier for students to further their
studies,” she said.

Steven Kennedy, a junior, agreed.

“I’m just glad I’ll be able to be
covered on my parent’s insurance until
I’m 26,” he said.

Brian Browne, the assistant vice
president of Government Relations, said
that the new advantages will come at
some kind of expense.

“Extending benefits for dependent
children will help college students,” he
said. “All these reforms come with a cost
and those costs will be passed on to the
consumer and taxpayers.”

Insurance companies cannot
discriminate against a person’s preexisting
medical conditions or any
medical history. Those who are currently
uninsured must find some kind of
insurance or face fines determined by
their income.

According to a statement made
by President Obama, this will help to
drastically lower the premiums of those
looking for health care, and cover more
than 32 million currently uninsured
Americans.

In a press conference held yesterday,
Obama acknowledged the tough decision
Congress had made and said that the bill
would not fix everything, “but it moves
us decisively in the right direction.”
However, the law is estimated to cost
taxpayer’s nearly $1 trillion and parts of
the legislation will not fully take effect
until 2014.

St. John’s students vocalized their
opinions on the matter. Some showed
their support for the legislation, saying
that the most important part is that all
Americans will now have easier access
to coverage.

“I’m all for it, I’ve been waiting a
long time, its’ progression,” said Jeff
Fisher, a sophomore. “It’s change, it’s
what we have waited for.”

Sarah Yu, a freshman, said she thinks
that more legislation may be needed.
“I know there are so many people
that can’t afford [health care], I’m happy
that everyone has access to it now,” she
said. “But the next bill better be about
decreasing the prices because it is way
too expensive.”

Meaghan Mapes, a junior and
member of the College Republicans,
thinks that the bill looked past the will of
the American people and will not be as
helpful as planned.

“The government showed blatant
disregard for the will of the people by
passing this bill and it will spend billions
of dollars that this country does not
have,” she said. “We as a nation will feel
the negative.”

Browne thinks that Americans,
particularly said he college students,
should wait to see what happens during
the transition.

“Time will tell on the exact impact
of the healthcare overhaul as most of
the reforms will not be implemented
for months if not years,” he said. “The
uninsured and those with pre-exisiting
conditions will benefi t from this health
care reform.

“The best thing about this lengthy
health care debate was that Americans
were exposed to some of the intricacies
of our legislative process.”