CALPIRG Hosts Student Health Care Conference

The public interest group launched a comprehensive healthcare guide in light of the Affordable Care Act


UCSD’s California Public Interest Research Group, or CALPIRG, hosted a press conference in Warren Mall on Thursday to launch the release of a comprehensive guide to healthcare for students. The conference was held in response to the  national Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” which opened to enrollment on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

People in attendance included members and student interns of CALPIRG as well as Sarah Czarnecki, field representative for Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.). The speakers stressed the importance of health insurance, and of educating people on their options.

“We do think we are invincible sometimes,” CALPIRG Campus Organizer Alex Acuna said. “As young people, we’re healthy. The fact of the matter is that things happen, whether it be illness or injury. Every student is covered, but for graduating seniors this should be something on their minds.”

Czarnecki said that Peters is determined to maintain an open office to aid people in understanding the healthcare changes, as well as partner with groups such as CALPIRG that provide education resources.

Following the press conference, CALPIRG members handed out a tip sheet about the new healthcare reforms on Library Walk. A full 14-page guide will be available this week in the Student Health Services and on Library Walk.

The UCSD CALPIRG chapter’s chair, Amrita Ray, emphasized the informative nature and simplicity of the guide.

“The guide lays out the new healthcare reforms,” Ray said. “We’re not trying to trick you; we’re just trying to let you know what’s going on. Health insurance does affect us, — it is in flux right now, and we should keep on top of the changes.”

The CALPIRG guide also specifically outlines the options for graduating college students. Under the ACA, children can now remain under their parents’ healthcare until they are 26. People can also find coverage through employment, student healthcare plans, or Covered California. Certain people can also qualify for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families.

Several other changes that come with the ACA, including the addition of Covered California, an online marketplace that allows shoppers to compare insurance options. The new law also mandates that having a pre-existing condition is no longer grounds for denied insurance or raised rates. Women can also no longer be charged more than men. Families below certain income levels can now receive financial aid in purchasing insurance.

Senior Sheryl Mendoza works at a pharmacy and is thus informed about the healthcare reforms.

“When it comes to insurance, it isn’t something you buy, like clothes,” Mendoza said. “You research it, and find the best for you and your family. It’s part of life; it’s something you always have to have. If you don’t have health insurance, it’s going to hurt you more.”