Student Press Response to Supreme Court Health Care Ruling Mostly Positive

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling upholding a large majority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act PPACA— known to some as Obamacare– spurred an immediate flurry of news reports, commentaries, status updates and tweets.

“On June 28, everyone on Facebook suddenly became U.S. Constitution wizards,” Independent Florida Alligator columnist Michela Martinazzi wrote. “Experts from the far right to the extreme left spouted their professional opinions and quoted the document like a Shakespearean scholar quotes Hamlet.”

A BuzzFeed post similarly confirmed, “Google News collected more than 25,000 news articles related to health care in 24 hours. In its first four hours, [the] decision sparked more than 1.9 million Twitter mentions of terms related to the ruling. . . . [C]overage and commentary [the day of the ruling] burned through not just the immediate implications, but what newspaper editors used to call the ‘second day’ stories– the political and policy implications of the ruling– and then through a fast-forwarded cycle of analysis that used to take weeks.”

Mostly lost amid this cycle: what students think of the ruling and the major health care reform legislation it has allowed to stand.

College media are, of course, currently in the throes of summer break, a time of staff transitions and reduced publishing. But many outlets have still weighed in on the historic news and its implications for collegians, the country, Congress, the high court and the commander-in-chief.

A review of editorials and opinion pieces published post-ruling in more than four dozen campus news outlets nationwide revealed student sentiments that are generally positive toward PPACA. While recognizing its flaws, the majority opinion is that it is a necessary step– a way to provide related coverage for more people and raise our health care system standards.

For example, the editorial board of The Daily Illini at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign praised the bill as placing the country on the “right track.” As DI top staff asserted in an editorial, “For many in the United States, the act is definitely a step in the right direction to obtaining universal health care, but the country is still far behind most of the other developed or industrialized nations of the world. . . . Certainly, the act is not a perfect bill. Even Obama has said so. But America is at last catching up to its counterparts around the globe.”

The Michigan Daily editorial team at the University of Michigan agrees with its fellow Big Ten board. Calling the bill’s legal upholding a victory in a recent editorial, the paper’s leadership argued, “A strong and well-run government is one that takes care of its people. One of the best places to start is making sure that its citizens are physically healthy enough to perform the tasks that keep the country moving. The Obama administration and the Supreme Court have laid down all the tools to create a health care system that actually cares.”

Current collegians view the PPACA as especially helpful for their peers and fresh graduates in need of health insurance. As the editorial board of The Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh stated in an editorial, “Here’s how the Affordable Care Act will improve student lives: Not having a job does not mean not having health care.”

The board subsequently contended, “Not only can you stay on your parents’ health insurance until your 27th birthday, but incoming insurance exchanges should make it easier and cheaper to purchase individual plans. In addition, you no longer will have to claim dependents or be disabled to qualify for Medicaid; you’ll just have to make below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which applies to many college students who are neither dependents of their parents nor on their insurance.”

The State News editorial board at Michigan State University concurs with the Pitt News contingent. In an editorial, the MSU crew cited the parental health provision as a key component behind their support. “Many of the economic and financial effects of Obamacare will not be felt by Americans until 2014, when most of the sections of the law will be in effect,” the board wrote. “Yet the immediate effect of this law that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until 26 is an important provision that should continue to be kept in place, regardless of disagreements about health care reform between the two parties.”

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