As burgeoning adults, we are hounded by relentless expectations of what adults are supposed to be able to handle in the “real world.” It can be frustrating as we are not born with the knowledge of how things work, such as how to pay rent, manage money, go grocery shopping, cook and more. But unquestionably, the biggest struggle to understand is how health insurance works in this country.
It’s fair to say that figuring out how to navigate the healthcare world is something most of us are sheltered by until we turn 18. Once we arrive at college it’s a steep slope having to learn everything about how to schedule doctors appointments, fill out insurance documents, co-pays and go to the pharmacy.
But the harshest lesson to learn while navigating the world of American healthcare is coming to the realization that being healthy is simply not affordable in the United States, especially for college students.
It’s hardly an exaggeration to say all of us as students are strapped for cash. Even if you have a job, chances are you’re spending the money you make on the general expenses of college life (food, textbooks, gas, school supplies, tuition). This unfortunately means we tend to push aside our physical and mental health in order to cut costs.
There is no humane reason to settle for this reality. It’s simply unacceptable for a country as rich as ours.
The solution of having a universal, single-payer healthcare system is the most logical substitution for our current system once all factors are considered. But it’s important that we realize we are the group that would benefit most from this system. Services such as regular checkups, therapy, medications and more would be immensely more accessible and affordable for us.
It’s important to pay attention to our health and wellbeing, as it will affect us many years down the road. We should not comprise that in this important time as we endure increased stress — a known factor that contributes to health and mental problems. As students, we simply cannot afford to not have this kind of healthcare system.
The point I am building towards is to ask you to carefully examine the issues being discussed in the upcoming election and to vote on what campaign promises directly impact you. Voting is our way out of this convoluted system.
About a week ago, I received a phone call from my mom telling me that my health insurance had been canceled. As I’m in the process of figuring out what I’m going to do next, I can’t afford to see a doctor, my therapist, my psychiatrist or pickup any of my medications. I am facing an uncertain, and frankly unsettling, future that I don’t wish upon anyone, but sadly I know I’m not alone in suffering this problem.
Please consider the importance of this election and what is at stake for this country. Do not be resigned to the belief that radical change is out of reach. With enough organized support, we can help overturn this nonsensical healthcare system and replace it with one that benefits everyone — but us as college students, most of all.