At the end of this fall semester or in May 2005, thousands of MSU students will cross a stage in the Breslin Center and graduate, walking out into the real world hopefully with real world jobs. Little do many students know, that once they’ve entered the real world, they are stripped of many benefits that were provided for them while dependent on their parents. One of the main issues being health care.
America’s health care system is one of the major issues in this year’s election and after the presidential election November 2, depending on who is elected could determine whether or not certain people will have better access to better healthcare plans.
John Kerry has big plans for revamping the health care system in the nation, and wants to provide all Americans with access to the same coverage that members of Congress have and to make affordable health care a right “not a privilege,” Kerry says.
To aid students in choosing a candidate whose health care plan fits them best, here are the main points of Kerry’s plan. Kerry wants to provide all Americans with access to the same health care coverage members of Congress receive. Kerry also plans on making the Federal Employee Health Care Benefits Program (FEHCP) available to everyone.
Through tax credits for individuals and the self-employed, everyone will be able to afford being covered by this program. Automatic coverage will be given to the unemployed and retirees under 65 years of age.
Randy Neice, president of the MSU Student Democrats, said that Kerry’s health plan is to create a catastrophic insurance plan which will protect middle-class families, and that Kerry believes a family should not have to choose between death of a loved one or catastrophic debt.
Under Kerry’s program, every child will have health care coverage by extending Medicaid programs already in place.
“We take over Medicaid children from the states so that every child in America is covered,” Kerry said. “And in exchange, if the states want to, although they are not forced to, they can cover individuals up to 300 percent of poverty.”
Kerry also plans to cut prescription drug costs by allowing discounted prescription drugs from Canada to be imported, making generic drugs more available on the market, and requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug companies for better prescription drug prices.
“Kerry wants to make prescription drugs affordable again by investing research and development into pharmaceutical development so that companies do have to pay for all the investment and can therefore provide medicine for less money,” Neice said. “Furthermore, he wants to expedite the licensing to allow generics to come out more quickly than they currently can under copyright laws, which will allow easier access to medicine when people need it most.”
By 2008, Kerry wants to have secure, private medical records on universal electronic files for every American and this will reduce medical errors by eliminating needless retesting due to lost or wrong paperwork. On his Web site, Kerry estimates that about 25 percent of the annual cost of health care goes towards unnecessary insurance paperwork.
Also, he supports passing a Patient’s Bill of Rights that will include the right to see the specialists they need, to emergency procedures, to external appeals process that allow patients to appeal an HMO decision, to hold health plans accountable and “whistleblower” protections for health care workers who report problems.
Should he become president, Kerry plans to help in combating the AIDS epidemic on a global scale by contributing to The Global Fund, increase resources for nations where the HIV/AIDS epidemic is catastrophic, eliminate restrictions on research and education of HIV/AIDS, and increase funding for programs in our nation that assist people living with these diseases.
Next, he also supports stem cell research to find cures for diseases. He plans to overturn the ban on federal funding of stem cell research and allow researchers to work under supervision.
Senior advertising major, Joe Merriman agrees with Kerry’s plans to help America with the issues of healthcare.
“I’m going to officially graduate at the end of this semester, so I won’t be on my parent’s insurance anymore,” Merriman said. “Even if I don’t have a job that offers health insurance, I think if John Kerry is elected president, I have more options since his goal is to make it cheaper and make certain types of medicine more accessible to the public.”

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