Walking around without health insurance is like driving around without car insurance. The one thing in common? Both these instances are very illegal.
In terms of cars and auto insurance, one of the biggest investments a person can make will likely be their home, with the second very likely being a car. Just as it’s difficult, if not impossible, to predict whether or not a driver will hit you or if a hail storm will break your windshield, it’s impossible to predict whether or not you will fall ill, seriously or otherwise. Where this poses obvious concern, anxiety may especially arise over the logistics as to how to handle the circumstances, whether or not you’re in a car wreck or in the hospital.
So imagine that something tragic happens, what do you do? If you’re uninsured, imagine being unable to do anything.
It is a dangerous way to live and there can be some surety in saying that no one should have to do it. Despite this, millions of Americans continue to live day in and day out without appropriate health coverage, whether because of the high cost of insurance or the inability (or outright refusal) of an employer to provide health benefits. As a result, many working-class people find themselves faced with the inability to receive comprehensive access to adequate care on a regular basis.
Living like this is very much like living life on the edge, that edge being a teetering point as to whether or not you will be cared for when you need it most. Why then, if this can pose such a huge threat, is talk about health care so stigmatized? This can likely be summed up in one word — “Obamacare.”
Cultural conversations of the new health care law often render very heated reactions from a multitude of people. Where the new health care law has its ardent supporters it also has its most fierce opponents, but where do university students, those who should be especially shifting their focus to that of health care, generally fall in the mix? The issue is it is rare for students to fall into any area at all.
Some students fail to see the value in health insurance as most are still able to reap the benefits of being on their parents’ plans. Regardless, it is true that this is something we should be more conscientious about as we creep closer to graduation and closer into our own adult lives. Perhaps that is why it is so alarming when dramatically different views may be prompted from when asked about feelings on “Obamacare” and then followed up with a question on the Affordable Care Act. (Both of which are actually the same thing.)
With the news in a frenzy over the pros and cons of American health care, it may make sense that facts may be warped and opinions may be developed over a simple lack of understanding.
What is the new health care law, then?
The new health care law aims to make health care more accessible to roughly 50 million Americans who are uninsured. This will be done by offering “government subsidies to low-income households and rules prohibiting policies from excluding members due to previous illnesses.”
Relevant to those in the younger university demographic, perhaps it would be swaying to note that under the new law, preventative care becomes free, and young adults may stay on their parent’s insurance plans until they turn 25. This is a big deal, especially for someone who, shortly after graduating from a university, may be focusing more on getting their career going and not shopping around for health insurance.
In order to be covered for the year 2014, open enrollment for health care ends Monday, March 31. Millions have been estimated and reported to have registered, though official numbers fluctuate from source to source. While the notions behind the law seem sincere and rational enough, the implementation of the program is begging the question as to whether or not it is possible to do better in the sector of health insurance and whether or not we can convince new target markets that this is something they should be looking into.
I feel that in spite of logistical faults that have arisen and flaws that are on the verge of making a bigger splash, the new health care law has a notable hand to offer younger markets.
If individuals can be persuaded to be more forward thinking and simultaneously be inspired to cover their health in the same way that they cover their car, fan of the law or not, we can work towards having a better health care system.
Whether that means we must make ourselves more culturally accepting or if we must envision something that has been subject to further reform, perhaps we can start the process — a process — by simply paying more attention.
Reach the columnist at Alexis.Gonzalez@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @0Moscwow