Dec 042009
 
Authors: Matt Miller

With debate raging over the health care reform proposals in Congress, a CSU social work class will host an expert panel to help inform students on health care facts today.

The panel will be comprised of Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, Health Care Board member and public health consultant Lee Thielen and CSU physician Kathlene Waller. It will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in Clark Building room A101.

Each member will give a 15- to 20-minute presentation on his or her field of expertise followed by an hour-long question and answer session.

The health care panel, which is open to all students and community members, was organized by a group of students for a class project in their social work class General Practice — Organizations/Communities.

“We noticed that not a lot of people know about the health care debate,” said senior social work major Tabitha Wiseman who organized the event.

Wiseman and the others who organized the panel conducted an informal survey and found that 95 percent of students didn’t know what the health care debate was.

“We think it’s important to inform people because it affects everyone,” Wiseman said.

Those who attend the panel will be informed on the facts of health care and how whatever decision is made will affect them directly, she said.

Waller, who works in the CSU Health Network, was contacted to inform students from the perspective of a physician who works directly with them.

“I hope to cut through the jargon and fear and myth and explain how insurance is supposed to work,” Waller said.

She said she has been involved with the health care debate for a long time, adding that students need to be informed and that big money movements should not dominate the conversation.

In her presentation, Waller said she plans to explain that health insurance does not equal health care.

“Most insurance companies are for profit and are obligated to shareholders to deny care,” Waller said.

She will also answer questions specifically related to CSU and it’s health care program, which currently works similarly to socialized medicine. The CSU policy pays for lab work and pharmacy costs and works to provide primary care to students at a low cost.

Students under this plan will be directly affected by a change in health care legislation.

“Students don’t have time for (informing themselves),” Waller said, adding that it takes a lot of work and paying attention to be well informed on the health care topic.

The panel is a great way to inform students, she said, about an issue that will hugely impact their lives out of college.

“The cost of health care really influences what people do for jobs,” Waller said. “It’s very stifling for young people.”

Many students said they are intimidated by the national debate and choose not to be involved in it.

“I definitely need to get educated before I graduate,” said sophomore health and exercise science major Ryan Hedrick. “I don’t know much about it. I haven’t been paying enough attention.”

Health care is not something that he worries about or even thinks about now, Hendrick said, but is something that will affect him when he is older.

“I’m probably not as informed as I should be,” said sophomore zoology major Nicole Hammers. “On campus I feel we are all sheltered. Unless you watch a lot of news, then you’re not as informed.”

Staff writer Matt Miller can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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