Since President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, most Americans have been patiently awaiting the first big step his administration would take in shaping America into the hopeful new country that was promised to us in his campaign speeches.
Now, more than a year later, Obama has finally delivered his first major win: the health care bill. With the passing of the health care reform bill on Sunday, Democrats had a lot to celebrate.
But like every other hot button issue that boils in the political melting pot for several years, this bill was not passed without a fight.
Although the issue of health care reform has been in and out of the spotlight for decades, the past year has seen the most crucial first steps in actually getting reform underway.
Still the prospect of huge changes has also revealed a fear of change among many Americans.
This display of criticism on both sides of the issue has shown the dark side of America.
Particularly bad has been the conservative reaction to the bill, led by members of the Tea Party movement, who fear that it introduces socialism to America.
In the days before the vote, some Tea Party members protesting in Washington, D.C., took their views to a greater extreme by harassing Congressmen John Lewis and Andre Carson with racist taunts.
Even after the bill passed, 10 Democratic House members reported receiving death threats that were serious enough to be reported to the FBI.
It seems that many of these issues come from the radical view that the health care bill is symbol of a significant socialistic change in America’s government.
In reality the bill is merely the first step in reforming the health care system. It does not overhaul everything that Americans are already grown accustomed to. Even the section of the bill that granted a public option for health care was axed out to please conservatives, but some did not take notice.
For supporters of the bill, the time for celebration may be premature.
It will not be the magic cure for all the issues plaguing our the health care system, particularly those associated with the rising costs of prescription drugs and medical care.
Plus, the laws passed with this bill will not go into effect as quickly as one might believe. Most provisions will not be fully implemented until 2014.
Americans still have a long struggle before they will see any kind of true, wide-reaching health reform, but this bill is a step in the right direction. Many Americans on both sides of the issue need to realize this fact before they run to the streets.
What it means for students
The passage of the bill not only benefits the general population, but it also has an impact on college students.
Students seeking higher education carry a heavy burden these days with the pressures of getting good grades, working, paying student loans and everyday expenses. College students are on an extremely tight budget, always trying to make ends meet. Thus, paying for health care is one less thing they will have to worry about.
One provision of the bill requires insurers to allow children to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until the age of 26.
This is important for young adults because many go on to graduate school and cannot get insurance from an employer because they are still in school and not working, making it financially difficult to have health insurance.
Also, since many students are dropped by their parents’ insurance after graduating from college, they continue their young adult life with no health insurance, putting themselves deeper in debt when they are forced to seek medical care. They cannot always rely on their luck to stay healthy.
However, another change is that the new health care bill will eventually force young adults fresh out of college to purchase health care insurance. This is a matter many college graduates avoid. But if they do not buy health insurance, they will be penalized. There is a pro and a con to this.
Obviously, the pro to this is that if a young college graduate gets seriously ill, they will have health insurance to rely on. The con is that many college graduates are having a difficult time finding employment in this tough economy, and health insurance is low on their list of worries.
And since many college graduates are unemployed the first few months of graduating, it can be extremely difficult for them to afford health insurance.