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EDITORIAL: Voting carries many implications for healthcare

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EDITORIAL: Voting carries many implications for healthcare

Tammy Baldwin urges college students to vote at a get-out-the-vote rally held at UWM, Monday.

Tammy Baldwin urges college students to vote at a get-out-the-vote rally held at UWM, Monday.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Tammy Baldwin urges college students to vote at a get-out-the-vote rally held at UWM, Monday.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Tammy Baldwin urges college students to vote at a get-out-the-vote rally held at UWM, Monday.

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Many undergraduate Marquette students don’t consider the realities of healthcare. If they are on insurance plans they are likely their parents’, since most plans allow children to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. At many universities, medical treatment is more accessible. Not only students, but those in general who have access to healthcare may not realize how much of a privilege it is. When accessible healthcare is not readily available to someone, getting sick can be more than just a small hassle.

It is important for students and others with healthcare to understand the privilege of healthcare and what that means in today’s social and political world.

Being aware of healthcare is all too important now with the upcoming midterm election. How people choose to vote will affect how healthcare in this country is configured going forward.

During the current midterm campaigns, healthcare has been dominating campaign advertisements. According to a study done by the Wesleyan Media Project, 37 percent of all ads in August referenced healthcare, which is up five percent compared to the time period Jan. 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin based her platform around healthcare. Baldwin struggled with a lack of insurance ever since she was diagnosed with a serious childhood illness at age 9. Her grandparents’ plan didn’t allow her to be listed as a dependent, so her care was not covered. Baldwin helped to craft the Affordable Care Act, and today she works hard to provide quality healthcare for all Americans.

Votes impact policies like the Affordable Care Act, which affects an estimated 30 million people, the majority being minorities. Prior to the ACA, more than 40 percent of Latinos were uninsured. After the ACA passed, that number dropped to 25 percent, according to The Commonwealth Fund. Latinos experienced the largest decline in the rate of those uninsured compared to any other ethnic group.

Disparities still exist between the type of care and providers people receive based on things like class and race. For example, black Americans are sicker than white Americans and are dying at a much higher rate. Black men live, on average, six years fewer than white men, according to the American Bar Association. This may be due to lack of insurance because of economic and social inequalities.

Healthcare for mental health is another crucial aspect in the conversation. Those who do not have access to healthcare have less ability to access resources to improve mental health, such as professional counselors or medication. This lack of care can take a toll on physical health as well.

The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t have a nationalized healthcare system. By determining quality of healthcare based on what one can afford, the American healthcare system inevitably discriminates against some citizens. Healthcare is a basic human right, and it shouldn’t be a choice of the government whether or not someone has access to it.

People don’t understand the privilege they have because they don’t have to recognize they have it. Having an understanding of how healthcare affects others can help individuals understand one another in a broader sense.

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