Classes discuss health care issue

By Sammy Roth

The ongoing national debate over health insurance reform made its way onto campus this month, with students in history and Spanish classes discussing the complex, often divisive issue.

The six seniors in history teacher Laurence Klein’s Directed Studies in Historical Research class wrote a group paper comparing President Barack Obama’s attempts to reform the health insurance system to former First Lady Hillary Clinton’s failed 1993 attempt to get universal health care legislation passed.

DSHR student A.J. Sugarman ’10 said that since the Obama administration has not written its own health care bill, research for the paper was somewhat difficult.

“The hard part is defining what Obama’s plan is,” Sugarman said. “He’s kind of just endorsed general principles.”

Fellow DSHR student Myles Teasley ’10 said that the group chose to focus on the bill crafted by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) because they decided it is the bill with the best chance of passing.

“Our group decided Baucus’ [bill] would, ultimately, have the best chance for a variety of reasons, one of them being that it was projected to come well within Obama’s, ‘Won’t raise a dime of your taxes’ pledge,” Teasley said.

Sugarman said there was disagreement among class members about the merits of Obama’s health insurance reform ideas, and that they ultimately “shied away” from predicting whether an effective insurance reform plan would be passed and implemented.

“I felt like we not only became essentially experts on Clinton’s 1993 plan, but also became well-versed in the current health care issues swirling around Congress while boosting our ability and capacity to research and distinguish good sources from bad sources,” Teasley said.

One of Spanish teacher Javier Zaragoza’s Spanish V classes discussed the health insurance debate, after Eve Bilger ’10 brought it up in a current events presentation.

“Eve wanted to bring out the issue that Obama is having difficulties convincing America that his health plan should be supported at a time when financial instability and crisis may not be in the best interest of the country,” Zaragoza said. “The reasons for not supporting the plan came out.”

History teacher David Waterhouse spent time talking about health insurance reform during one of his AP United States Government and Politics lessons.

“I found that the seniors knew very little about it,” Waterhouse said. “So I explained the basic aspects of reform that are generally agreed up on, as well as the sources of conflict on the issue.”

Klein, too, discussed the health insurance debate during his AP United States Government and Politics class. Jake Lasker ’10, one of two self-identified Republicans in that class, said he benefited from being surrounded by students with whom he disagrees about the best way to reform the health insurance system.

“In general I’m in the minority in such discussions, but I don’t really mind it and I actually like hearing new viewpoints,” Lasker said. “I really enjoyed the discussion and I learned a lot.”