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The Blue & Gray Press | December 14, 2017

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Student Group Defends Health Care at Rally

By MARY WENDT

A group of University of Mary Washington students involved in Virginia Organizing and other advocate groups for the Affordable Care Act came together last Thursday outside of Lee Hall to rally against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s plan to oppose the bill.

According the Washington Post, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. As a health care reform bill, it allows young Americans under the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan.

The day before the second anniversary of the ACA’s passing, students gathered across from Lee Hall on Campus Walk and gave speeches regarding the bill. They emphasized the importance of this law through their speeches and stories, including how the law has positively changed their own lives as well as the lives of others.

According to the Washington Post, Conservatives in Congress are trying to get this law repealed. Beginning March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing three days of arguments on the constitutionality of the law. A final decision will be made on June 30.

According to the Washington Post, Cuccinelli, during an interview at the Republican Attorney General Association Meeting on Monday, said, “It would be contrary to the law not to implement it,” but, “it might not be easy for the federal government to force states to comply if they continued to resist.”

According to the students of UMW’s Virginia Organizing, Cuccinelli is willing to break the law if the Supreme Court favors the ACA as long as there are no criminal penalties.

A flyer given out at the rally stated, “Cuccinelli seems to think that he should be able to pick and choose which laws he enforces.”

Evan McLaughlin, the president of UMW’s chapter of Virginia Organizing, said this law effects many UMW students and in order to keep it intact he believes people should, “keep pressure on Cuccinelli…call the attorney general’s office.”

A number to call Congress about the ACA was provided, as well as a petition to sign to keep the law in place.

Representatives from Campus Progress, located in Washington, D.C., were present at the event and handed out informational flyers on how the ACA benefits young Americans.

According to Campus Progress, there are “five ways the affordable care act benefits you.” These include: staying on your parents’ plan, student health plans that are more comprehensive than ever, a focus on preventive care coverage, insurance providers cannot discriminate against patients based on gender or pre-existing conditions, and medical students can receive help paying back loan debt and will have a better chance of finding a medical job.

Shereen Zaid, events associate for Campus Progress said, “It’s important to me because I want to thrive as an American citizen—I want to buy a house, raise a family, and give back to the economy in a healthy way. I’m constantly paying for my medical bills. I want to be able to give back to our economy or have a healthy, stable home.”

A spectator at the event, Laura Morgan, senior philosophy major said, “I came out today because I’m hurt by this society. I grew up believing we take care of each other.” Morgan also stated, “We need to let insurance companies know we are not dollar signs.”

Kol Giesses, another speaker at the rally, said, “Health care is a human right, not a partisan issue.”

McLaughlin concluded the conversation about the ACA, and said, “The Affordable Care Act is not enough. It’s a great step forward, but we need to go further. It is too important of a step to go back on.”

Erica Gouse, chairman of College Republicans, was reluctant to call the healthcare bill a success.

“The recent numbers have shown that Obama’s Healthcare Law will not be the cheap and easy fix it was sold to be,” said Gouse. “The government should rather look for legal ways to open up the Healthcare Market to allow market forces to lower the price of Healthcare.”

Gouse believes the issue Cuccinelli, and other attorney generals, have brought to the courts over the constitutionality of Obama’s healthcare law will be a pivotal point in U.S. history.

“The fact is that the government’s ability to mandate the purchase of any product is simply unconstitutional and opens the floodgates to further intrusive government requirements,” said Gouse. “This is not an argument over the importance of healthcare, this is a battle over liberty.”