The Daily Targum

Groups Advocate For Health Care Reform

The Daily Targum — Thursday, September 10, 2009

By Colleen Roache
Staff Writer

Rutgers AAUP-AFT representative Catherine Stanford speaks in favor of President Barack Obama's health care plan at yesterday's "Get Back to Work" rally on the steps of Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus.

While Washington weighs and considers President Barack Obama's plan for health care reform, several state and University groups brought the debate to New Brunswick at a health care rally.

"Get Back to Work" rally Thursday at Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus sought support for H.R. 3200, also known as America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.

Several organizations, including the Radigals, Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey and the University's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, chanted, gave speeches and sought signatures on petitions in favor of the plan to expand insurance coverage, sparking a debate among those in attendance.

"There are so many people who are suffering ... because the insurance companies are standing in the way," said Catherine Stanford, a staff representative of the Rutgers American Association of University Professors - American Federation of Teachers. "The combination of healthy competition in this health insurance exchange, with regulations, will make those insurance companies have to sit up and take notice that the American people want to hold them accountable for health care."

Stanford said she would like to see a single-payer health care system similar to Canada's and thinks the president's proposed plan can be adapted to the U.S.

Vice President of the College Republicans Noah Glyn disagreed with Obama's initiative.

"I think that everybody who actually cares about the status of health care in America should be opposed to it ... Government can really do nothing efficiently, and we've seen that time after time ... The free market does do things more efficiently," said Glyn, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

The president, in his Wednesday-night speech to a joint session of Congress, said he would not sign any plan that increases the nation's deficit and that the proposed plan, which includes provisions for preventative care, would save money.

But Glyn is not convinced.

"With all due respect to the president of the United States, he's just not correct about that," he said. "The Congressional Budget Office has disagreed. Every single independent organization that has analyzed the bill has disagreed with the president and said that's just not the case."

Stanford said although the sticker price of the proposed insurance reform — $900 billion throughout the course of 10 years, according to the president — seems high, the price of covering those who end up in the emergency room without insurance is more expensive.

Radigals member Shadi Mousavi disagreed and said the president's plan would be more fiscally responsible.

"We spend more per capita on health care than any other nation in the world, and we're getting pretty much nothing out of it ... If you want to be fiscally responsible, then I think the fiscally responsible thing to do is change the system we have now, because obviously it's not working," said Mousavi, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

She stressed the importance of the issue to college students who, with the unstable economy, may have trouble finding an employer-based health insurance plan upon graduation.

"In a supposedly 'civilized' nation, there's no reason why we shouldn't have universal access to health care," Mousavi said.

Anna Zailik, a Radigals member, said she was for the president's plan but also stressed the importance of a knowledgeable student body.

"Watch the news. Read. Do whatever you can to stay informed updated on this topic, because it's our voices that need to be heard," said Zailik, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. "Everyone does make a difference ... The only way to do anything about it is to act on it."

Although their positions varied, Stanford, Glyn, Mousavi and Zailik all agreed that students should voice their opinions to their congressmen in an effort to ensure that their ideas are heard.

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