Mar 252010
 
Authors: Sara Michael

When HR 3590 surged through the clutches of the House and the Senate on a Democratic wave Sunday night, the U.S. responded with a furor of polarity. The sharp divisions on the health care reform bill that Americans have seen in Congress and on television are reflected in the Colorado and CSU community.

The reform is a “monstrosity,” Colorado Republican Chairman Dick Wadhams said in a prepared statement. In the statement, Wadhams accused President Obama and his associates of “bribery, intimidation, and playing fast and loose with the numbers” to reach the claim that the new bill will reduce the deficit.

He added that the only favorable response from the bill would be the wrath Democrats would face from their voters in November.

“As state Republican chairman, I know this sets the stage for big victories this fall,” Wadhams said. “As an American, I fear for the future of our country unless we repeal this bill.”

In a press statement defending her favorable position on the bill, Colorado Senator Betsy Markey called the reform a “major step toward reining in the skyrocketing costs of health care,” and saying that it is the “biggest deficit reduction bill to come before Congress in over a decade.”

“My vote today isn’t about politics,” she said. “It’s about bringing down health care costs and doing what’s right for the people of Colorado.”

An estimated 750,000 to 770,000 Coloradans lack health insurance, said State Representative for District 52 John Kefalas, and the new bill will bring health insurance to nearly half a million of those.

“I’m supportive because there are provisions for things like the elderly. It’s putting forth a lot of important reforms –– people’s needs can’t be denied anymore. It’s not everything I wanted, but it works,” Kefalas said.

Others are not so complacent. On Monday, Attorney General John Suthers brought Colorado into a lawsuit challenging parts of the law.

Governor Bill Ritter defended the constitutionality of the bill. His legislation such as the Colorado Health Care Affordability Act has striven toward this goal in the past in what he calls “tremendous strides,” but, he added, “we can’t do it alone.”

“Colorado and all states need national reform to ensure that people with pre-existing illnesses do not lose coverage or are denied coverage,” he said.

“I am confident the reforms poised to become law in Washington will complement and support Colorado’s efforts, that they are within Congress’ power to regulate commerce, and that they are constitutionally sound.”

While legislators battle over the constitutionality of a mandated health care system, CSU has its own diversity in opinions.

Political Science professor Pam Duncan said she likes the bill, but thinks it could have been better. Still, she said, the bill is a major leap forward after the lengthy battle for health reform.

“Any big change makes the American people uncomfortable,” she said. “Hopefully people will see the benefits, and as they begin to see benefits, they will change.”

“I’m all for it,” said sophomore business major Marianne Miller. “I have health care, but it’s reassuring to know now that I always will regardless.”

Freshman Lacy Shawcroft, a sociology major, disagreed. “I hate it,” she said. “Yes, I don’t have health care. Yes, I have to buy medicine out of pocket, but I’d rather have control of my own life.”

Staff Writer Sara Michael can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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