Tag Archives: health care

Guest speakers debate health care in politics

James Huffman, a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School speaks to a room full of students and faculty during “Health Care Reform and the Constitution” on Sept. 14 in Riley 201. Christine Fujiki/For the Review

Norman Williams, a professor from Willamette University College of Law, Nick Buccola, assistant professor of politial science, and James Huffman, professor at Lewis & Clark Law School present “Health Care Reform and the Constitution.” They each debated their own views on the topic Sept. 14 in Riley 201. Christine Fujiki/For the Review

The health care reform has been the talk of many since President Barack Obama held a White House forum March 5, 2009.

The talk was brought to Linfield College by James Huffman, a professor from Lewis & Clark Law School, and Norman Williams, a professor from Willamette University College of Law on Sept. 14.

Nick Buccola, assistant professor of political science, opened for the debate, which was focused on health care reform and the Constitution.

To go along with the topic of the Constitution, the audience received pocket sized copies of the Constitution.

Buccola had expectations of what the audience’s reactions would be.

“I [expect] the audience to come into the room with views of the merits of health care reform as a matter of public policy and to be forced by the topic of the debate to think through the issue through the slightly different lens of constitutional law.”

Winning the coin toss, Huffman spoke on his views of the topic first, clearly stating that he does not agree with the health care reform. In his opening statement, Huffman acknowledged that Williams would have plenty of case laws to support his argument, but he went on to say that the individual mandate is that “health care isn’t going to work without the individual mandate.” The individual mandate that he referred to was explained to be that “health care has to be purchased.” Huffman also stated that this would be unconstitutional.

In contrast, Williams defended health care reform and said that it is constitutional. Williams explained the importance of health care reform.

He said the people who are unable to pay their hospital bills never pay, and their expenses get tacked on to other people’s bills, which makes their insurance higher. He referred to this as “cost shifting.”

“I found it very problematic that 43 million people are unable to pay for their health care and that it is passed on to others. This needs to be fixed in a constitutional manner,” sophomore Andrea Erland said.

“The Federal Court does not sit around to evaluate laws,” William said in reference to the 300 hundred page proposal. He went on to say that it is the work of the three branches of government and none of them are more important than the other.

“I thought Professor Huffman and Professor Williams offered strong arguments on behalf of their respective positions,” Buccola said in an email. “As I indicated at the event, I think Huffman’s position is problematic because it assumes an understanding of liberty that is contestable and I worry that Williams does not provide an adequate account of the role on constitutionalism in the American system of government.”

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Kaylyn Peterson/Sports editor

Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Government now issues student loans

When President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Bill into law March 30, the federal government became the primary lender of student loans.

In past years, banks were the common lenders of student loans. Now, as stated in the bill, the government will lend money directly to college students for all federal loans.

The Linfield Financial Aid Office made the transition to using only government-issued loans this year but the new law will go into effect July 1.

“We saw it coming,” Loan Coordinator Sharon Sweeney said. “Other schools waited until they were forced to switch, and now some of them are scrambling to make the change.”

About 80 percent of student loans were funded by the government before the measure was passed. Many banks stopped loaning to students in recent years, Sweeney said.

The change was a “switch to cut out unnecessary middlemen,” Obama said during a speech at Northern Virginia Community College on March 30.

The government will no longer be required to pay subsidies to banks for college loans or pay off debt from students who default on loans. The change will save the government an estimated $68 billion during the next 11 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“If the money saved that goes back to the government is going to be dispersed in the form of other financial aid, then I think that’s a good thing,” junior Klya Iveans said.

Iveans transferred to Linfield this fall and uses loans to help pay for tuition.

The savings by the federal government will be used to allocate more funds to community colleges, more Pell Grants and more subsidized loans to students and establish relaxed repayment terms to borrowers, Sweeney said.

The only change students may have noticed because of the switch was the need to fill out a new Master Promissory Note to receive loans.

“It doesn’t affect eligibility, interest, the terms of loans or anything else,” Sweeney said.

Students with Stafford Loans who are graduating this spring will be asked to attend an exit counseling meeting May 6, she said.

The switch may also affect how students pay back loans, Sweeney said. Students may have to pay back two lenders — the government and the banks that issued older loans — instead of using one payment plan.

But the biggest effect of the change will be the impact on banks and other financial institutions, such as Sallie Mae, one of the largest lenders of student loans.

“A lot of people stand to lose jobs because of this,” Sweeney said.

Shawn Fisher

News reporter Shawn Fisher can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com

Health care reform sends students back to insurance-policy nest

Nearly 2 million young adults nationwide will be able to return to their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26 by September 2010.

After 14 months of passionate arguments across party lines, the federal government signed the Patient Protection and Affordability Act into law March 30. The act formalized
President Barack Obama’s effort to extend affordable health care coverage to all Americans by insuring roughly 32 million Americans. 

In Oregon, there are about 60,000 students who are eligible to move back onto their parents’ plans. Young adults qualify for this extension as long as they do not have access to insurance through their employer. However, this only applies if they are college student. 

“I think this legislation is an intelligent way to cover a group that’s often looked over,” Wu said.

The new federal law provides a minimum form of dependent coverage for all states. Before the reform, states such as Alabama, California and Hawaii, did not have state laws requiring extended dependent coverage to young adults.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will create a standard definition for “dependent” to eliminate inconsistencies among states based on tax status or residency.

Graduating students who are covered by the school health insurance plan should check with the school to determine if coverage ends after graduation or continues until the next calendar year.

In order to provide coverage for dependents, employees will have to share part of the premium with the employer, who is paying the rest.

However, this law does not include expansions for dental and vision benefits. Instead, the insurance companies and states will determine eligibility and the degree of coverage.

“No piece of legislation solves all problems,” Wu said. “This will move young people ahead significantly.”

The act marks a significant milestone in the health care overhaul, as 95 percent of Americans will now have access to affordable coverage.

Since 1912, beginning with Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Agenda, presidents have fought for more comprehensive health care coverage.

“It’s been a longtime coming,” Wu said.

The federal government will require all people to obtain minimal health care coverage by 2014.

The act will limit the cost of premiums and cost-sharing for those people who earn wages less than four times of the federal poverty line. The act also improves employee responsibility provisions by removing debilitating stipulations, such as the 60- and 90-day waiting period.

“I do think that 50 years from now, this legislative effort will stand alongside the GI Bill in importance, and people will wonder why America was the last industrial country to do this,” Wu said.

For small businesses providing coverage, the act requires states to establish an American Health Benefit Exchange to assist them.

By 2014, the act will extend Medicaid coverage to qualifying low-income individuals under 65 years old. The law also removed lifetime caps, meaning a policy will not be canceled simply because someone requires expensive medical treatment.

By September, the new law will stop insurance companies from rejecting children for coverage simply because of pre-existing conditions.

Wu said that the legislation is perhaps more important to the 200 million Americans who already have coverage because they do not have to worry about their families going bankrupt for pre-existing conditions.

“A lot of people say, ‘I would change my job, but I can’t because my son has diabetes,’” Wu said. “Taking away that uncertainty is important.”

For more information about how the act affects current students and young adults in general, visit www.younginvincibles.org/cover.html.

This is the first part in a three-part series regarding the new health care legislation. Next week will focus on effects on students.

Chelsea Langevin
Senior reporter Chelsea Langevin can be reached at linfieldreviewmanaging@gmai.com