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Letter to the Editor: Student Health Care

March 12, 2012

A letter to the editor from the University Affair’s Press Liaison Corin Menuge commenting on the need for a more focused approach to Student Health Care, as printed in the Badger Herald today:

On Feb. 28, The Badger Herald published an article titled “Bill would halt health care crisis” on the recently-proposed bill appealing cuts to BadgerCare. The article detailed the effects the bill would have on life for Wisconsin’s workers and young children. However, noticeably absent from this article was any mention of students, who number more than 50,000 in the Madison area.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, co-author of the bill, was cited saying, “If the governor is serious about job creation, he needs to do something about health insurance.” If job creation is the principle concern, then students, who stand to lead the future workforce, should receive equal consideration.

The primary concern of the administration should be increasing student awareness of their health insurance coverage. In 2011, the UW System Ad Hoc Committee on Health Insurance assembled an unpublished report on student health insurance. This report relayed that of all students with health insurance, 50 percent did not know whether they were covered in Madison or not. As such, the UW System committee is considering plans to mandate Wisconsin-based health insurance for UW students. This plan came to the attention of concerned students at ASM who formed a group within the University Affairs Committee.

The Student Health Insurance Initiative is a group within ASM that is led by University of Wisconsin student Sophia Weerth. This group has begun to research the ad hoc committee’s plan and what options students would have if health insurance is mandated. SHII hopes to bring in more concerned students to make this research into action.

If Wisconsin’s workforce is the chief concern for the future, attention needs to be brought to students. For more information about working with SHII, students should contact Sophia Weerth at asmstudenthealth@gmail.com.

Corin Menuge (menuge@wisc.edu) is a freshman and a member of the Associated Students of Madison University Affairs Committee.

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