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Maine Voices: University Abandons Students' Healthcare Needs

There is already a lot of blood on the hands of America's broken healthcare system. Barring major social change, the livelihood of the American people will soon be in grave jeopardy. A danger, I fear, is on the verge of crisis as we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. the constant challenge year after year of getting somewhat decent health coverage without breaking the bank. Last July, my university wrote to us: “In response to student concerns regarding the cost of student health insurance…”

Now, you might expect the sentence that followed to have been: “We have found a more affordable option. Instead, the university was doing away with the insurance requirement altogether. Students needed to get coverage through a tutor, job, or the government marketplace. The same (unaffordable) plan remained voluntarily available, except now it would not be included in tuition (and thus loans or aid cannot be used to cover the cost) and students would have to pay directly to the broker. university insurance.

This wouldn't be so bad, if the adjustments really took into account the holes in our current health and education systems. Rather than fix the hole (i.e. offer an affordable plan), the university applied a proper Band-Aid for a paper cut, except the hole is actually a broken leg. What these "solutions" fail to address is a myriad of barriers, including navigating our nation's confusing marketplace platforms, the need to access resources to make informed decisions, the lack of affordable options, and the reality that students low-income often fall behind in education. systems not designed to keep them afloat. This adds to the light the ongoing pandemic is shedding on how disjointed, politicized and monetized our current approach to mental and physical care is.

Regardless of beliefs, it is clear that at the root of almost all concerns is the unabashed truth that we work for capitalism and capitalism does not work for us. The system is designed in a way that it takes money directly from an individual's pocket. In return, that person might get mediocre care, but only if they're lucky enough to be able to afford it. Therefore, breaking down barriers should be the goal, not building more walls. Regardless of identity or place in this world: everyone deserves to be able to afford the care they need. Point.

Last October, a survey was conducted in Maine that focused on the affordability of health care. The data is raw and alarming. What struck me most is that 80% of Mainers are concerned about paying for health care in the future and 63% are struggling to pay for care today. This was true at all income levels. Younger Maine residents faced the most burdens of all age groups surveyed. Also, across party lines, these are charges Mainers are trying to resolve.

What is very clear is that we have a big problem to face. The people of Maine need a cultural shift in how the state approaches and thinks about the accessibility, affordability, and availability of strong mental and physical care before the severity of the problem far outweighs our collective ability to produce solutions. .

When every day Mainers, like me, have to choose between paying their rent on time or getting the care they need; It is [past] time to act. This is not a paper cut. Hell, it's not even a broken leg. The people of Maine are on fans, literally and figuratively, fighting for our lives. At some point, literally and figuratively, those fans will run out. When they inevitably do, the lives of the real people of Maine will be lost, and have already been lost. These people matter. They always mattered. It is the system that did not value them to begin with.

So Governor Janet Mills and the Maine Legislature, here's what I have to say: the clock is ticking. How long until timeout?

— Special to the Press Herald

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