Millions of uninsured Americans have been heartened by the reecent announcement about the plans for a public option as part of the national health care debate.
The final decision about the government operated health insurance plan is now pending. According to CBS News, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced her massive, comprehensive health care reform bill on the House floor, while the Senate inches closer to introducing a bill on the floor as well.
Some Florida A&M University students and many Americans are still unclear as to what the public option is and how it affects them.
According to the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid announced Monday that he will include a government-backed insurance plan in the chamber’s health-care reform legislation.
The government-backed plan will be aimed at providing full coverage, and affordable health insurance for everyone.
If this bill is passed, it will be mandatory for everyone to have insurance.
“I support the public option plan even if there are consequences for non-compliance,” said Stephanie Head, a first year senior psychology student from Nashville, Tenn.
In a speech by President Obama at the American Medical Association, he said the central goal behind the public option insurance plan is to ensure that all Americans have universal healthcare regardless of social or economic status.
Shanae Holman, 22, an associate organizer of faith-based community organizations, said since the government has taken it upon itself to be responsible for health care, then the government should also be responsible for making sure that everyone has equal coverage whether it’s permitted through taxes or grants.
“I think that everyone should have equal access to health care whether they are rich or poor, and Obama’s plan is in favor of that,” Holman said.
While some leaders support the public option plan, others oppose it, fearing that it will cause private insurance companies to loose consumers.
Obama and those in favor of the public option insurance plan are not solely focused on whether private insurers will loose consumers. He said the primary focus of this bill is to eliminate the number of deaths per year associated with being uninsured. Everyday, some Americans are dropped from their insurance due to sicknesses that insurance companies may not want to cover.
Through the public option bill it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny people based on their health status.
“It’s not right that people pay insurance only to be dropped when they get sick because their insurance companies don’t want to cover the costs,” said Head.
Portia Mitchell, a senior political science student from West Palm Beach, said she thinks the public option plan is a great idea because it will help save lives.
“Luckily I have health insurance, but if I didn’t I would definitely go with the public option plan,” said Mitchell.
Jasmine Linder, 24, a senior physical education student from Gainesville, is among the number of Americans who are not as fortunate. Linder said just last year she was dropped from her health insurance after being in a car accident.
“I was denied because the cost of my injuries were too much for the insurance company to take,” said Linder. “I now have to pay $30,000 in hospital bills.”
According to the Census Bureau’s 2009 report, there are 45 million Americans without insurance, which means that every one in six Americans have no insurance. By 2019, the number of uninsured people is expected to increase by about 9 million if a health care plan is not implemented.
“Regardless of different outlooks on the health care matter, something has to be done regarding this crisis because at the end of the day, people are losing their lives,” said Holman.