UConnPIRG begins health care campaign
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 00:10
On Wednesday, UConnPIRG – the student chapter of the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group in Storrs – held an informational session across from Homer Babbidge Library on Fairfield Way to inform students and the general public about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
More than two dozen students, all members of UConnPIRG, stood at a table set up with information as several speakers discussed the group’s plans to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly referred to as Obamacare, in an effort they have dubbed “Healthcare 101.”
Some of the speakers included Michael Kurland, UConn’s Director of Health Services, and Kevin Alvarez, a 3rd-semester political science major and Undergraduate Student Government (USG) senator.
Daniel Byrd, a 1st-semester political science major and UConnPIRG’s Healthcare 101 campaign coordinator, began the mid-morning event by introducing the organization’s new project. He said they will be able to answer students questions such as they will be able to afford the new plan and where they might go to find health insurance.
Byrd said they are trying to reach out and have discussions with more than 6,000 students – 2,000 at UConn’s Storrs campus as well as 2,000 at the other two locations that ConnPIRG has student chapters: UConn Hartford and Trinity College.
After speaking and discussing UConnPIRG’s plans with this effort, Byrd then introduced the first speaker, Kurland.
Kurland, who is also in charge of the university’s student health care plans, said UConn students are able to receive many different types of care at Student Health Services but “despite the availability of these sorely needed services, it is critical that all students maintain adequate health insurance.”
“With medical debt as the number one reason for bankruptcy,” Kurland said, “going without insurance is just simply not an option.” He also urged students to see what is available and the best option that works for them.
Alvarez, who was speaking as a representative on behalf of USG, said “even with learning more about this law [as a political science major] and seeing all the different aspects of it, the number one thing that I’ve come across is that it is complex. It’s extremely complex and for a UConn student, or any student, it’s difficult to understand.”
“But right now, for the state of Connecticut and for UConn students,” Alvarez said, “we’re in a prime position to learn about this law.”
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of UConnPIRG passed out copies of their health care guide, “So You Need Health Insurance. Now What?” to students as they walked by. The guide is also available online at www.connpirgstudents.org.
UConn President Susan Herbst was also in attendance at the press conference. However, she did not take part in the event as the university was not involved in the process of organizing it and also did not sponsor it.