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Debate for the health care bill

3/30/10 edition of the Scroll

Students speak out about the health care bill


Miley Davis
BYU-Idaho’s Jefferson Public Policy Society, or JPPS, held a public debate about the
health care bill in the John Taylor building March 25 at 2 p.m.
Two of the four presenters argued for the bill, even though all of them were personally
against it. During the first half hour, debaters took turns presenting their facts and
opinions about why the health care bill was a bad idea or a good idea. The second half
hour was spent asking the presenters questions about the health care bill.
Hillary Clemens, a communication faculty member, and Quincy Stott, a senior studying
English, argued against the bill. Clemens proposed that the means of funding the bill are
too flawed, because the funding for the bill comes from taxes that won’t go into effect
until 2013, from a decrease in how much money is given to Medicare and from an
advisory board responsible for eliminating inefficiencies in the health care system.
Clemens believes these methods of raising money won’t work, because “companies have
three years to change so that they won’t be taxed.” She said that Americans have been
asking for a decrease in money going into Medicare since the 1990s.
“We just put off the legislation and voted on it again every year,” Clemens said. “We’ve
never actually done it. Who says it’s going to happen now?”
The reason Clemens gave for why the advisory board isn’t going to be able to raise the
money it needs to is because the current inefficiencies in the health care system are issues
that can’t be fixed.
“[The inefficiencies are] going to continue, because the American health care system is
employer-based,” Clemens said. “It is not based by the government. It’s not based simply
by individuals or market. It’s a funky hybrid, and there’s no way to get the two fixes out.”
Another possible problem that Clemens discussed was what she called “magic math.”
Clemens explained that in 2014 the government will have to use 10 years worth of tax
revenue to pay for six years of the new health care program.
“In the end, that doesn’t add up,” Clemens said. “Logistically, I think you can see it’s a
mess.”
Clemens also argued that money will be lost in hiring more social workers to help the
impoverished and uneducated to “navigate a complicated system.” She said that these
people are already having problems getting access to the welfare and health care they
need, and that this problem will only worsen with the new health care bill.
Jared Loper, a sophomore studying education, and Charles Horikami, a freshman
studying political science, argued for the bill. Loper said that in 2007 the top 10 percent
of Americans received 50 percent of all the money made in America.
“And then the 90 percent of the people that are left have to fight for that leftover 50
percent,” Loper said. “That doesn’t seem fair to me. So, I’m okay with taxing Cadillac
taxes and with putting higher taxes out there. I think it’s a great thing.”
Loper mentioned that some of the Cadillac taxes are probably going to be eliminated
anyway because the government has seen their flaws. He also supported decreasing the
money going to Medicare.
“The cuts to Medicare have been shown to be nothing more than wasteful spending in
Medicare,” Loper said. “We can take that money and, instead of wasting it, put it toward
something useful, like insuring the people of America.”
Loper presented a chart during his argument and used it to show that people in America
make fewer visits to the doctor and pay almost twice as much as the next highest country
spends on visits to the doctor. The chart also showed that Americans have a lower
average life expectancy than most of the other countries that it represented.
“There are only five nations in the world that are industrialized that are developed that
have a lower life expectancy than America,” Loper said. “If we spend this much on our
health care and our health care is so good, why are we paying so much and living so
much less than everyone else out there?”
Loper also pointed out that there are still states that allow insurance companies to count
domestic violence as a preexisting condition. He explained that this means that a woman
who has been battered by her husband can’t get insurance.
“Is that fair? Is that the sort of free market that we want? We need regulation,” Loper
said. “Everyone wants to say regulations are bad [and] we need a free market completely.
…I do agree that a free market is important, but to say a completely free market is the
way to go is fundamentally flawed.”