Students participate in health care debate

Debate over President Obama’s proposed health care plan exploded over the summer, and while politicians debated health care reform in the halls of Congress, GW students were joining the discussion, voicing their opinions on blogs and receiving a behind-the-scenes look at the issue through internships.

Sophomore Conor Rogers founded, a political blog with a bipartisan voice, in May. Rogers and the other contributors have written more than 20 articles on the proposed health care legislation.

“Students have the unique opportunity to be truly independent thinkers and independent pundits. You will rarely find a student who has been bought by a lobbyist, paid by a PAC or swayed by any sort of union,” Rogers said. “We, as students, have the ability to take the future into account.”

In his articles, Rogers criticizes President Obama’s health care plan that he foresees as bankrupting private insurance companies and allowing only the public option to survive.

“Every active Republican I know has been working against the health care plan. It is a liberal proposal that threatens to do major damage to our health, our market economy and simply the culture of how government is done in America,” Rogers said. “Free market conservatives, including college Republicans, are up in arms against the proposal.”

The GW College Republicans also spent the later part of the summer planning a “health care blitz” for the fall, meant to educate GW students about the different aspects of Obama’shealth care plan, said Andrew Clark, the CR’s public relations director. Clark is also a Hatchet columnist.

Republicans were not the only GW students voicing their opinions on Obama’s health care plan this summer. Senior Eshawn Rawlley, a member of the College Democrats, interned with the American Association of Retired People as an assistant in the advocacy campaign.

“AARP has been very active in health care reform,” Rawlley said. “We want to make sure that whatever package is passed is something that benefits our membership, to make sure that seniors have a seat at the table.”

As one of the largest interest groups in the nation – one out of every four voters in 2006 was a member – the AARP has been reaching out to their members during the summer to confront rumors about the plan.

“Our job is to work with all the literature that goes out to our members, to make sure they are informed,” Rawlley said. “We also work to make sure our members our enucleated against some of the false rumors going around like death panels and euthanizing your granny.”

While the AARP has yet to endorse any plan, Rawlley personally thinks reform is needed and that students should be some of the most active voices when it comes to expressing their needs.

“We are laying down the groundwork for the future,” he said. “Our future, when we are eventually AARP members.”

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