College Democrats, Republicans talk health care

The groups discussed the government's role in health care.
MU College Democrats President Brian Roach delivers his closing statement Monday night at a political debate at Chambers Auditorium. The debate was hosted by the Residence Halls Association and featured representatives from the College Republicans, Campus Libertarians and the College Democrats.

Representatives from MU College Republicans and MU College Democrats participated in a political forum about health care reform hosted by the Residence Halls Association on Monday night.

"It's a market failure that 47 million Americans don't have health insurance," College Democrat Eapen Thampy said.

The government's role in providing health care was the main point of contention.

"It comes down to a divide in basic principles," MU College Republicans Chairman Brett Dinkins said. "Which is whether or not one thinks the government has a role in providing health care for everyone. That's the reason that people who have conservative values and people who have liberal values are never going to overcome this."

Although both parties had fundamentally different philosophies, both acknowledged the need for a change in the current system.

"The Republicans do have an idea for something that will work," Dinkins said. "But we're currently trying to stop something that goes against conservative values. Something that's forcing American people to pay for other people's health care, something that's not going to benefit them."

Sixty percent of Americans support a public health care option, said Rick Puig, former Young Democrats of Missouri president, in reference to a Gallup poll.

Dinkins said he disagreed.

"I'm sure MSNBC does say that, or whichever talk show you're watching, but it's definitely not the general consensus," Dinkins said. "And you keep saying we have this right, the constitutional right, when in fact it says quite the opposite."

One of the biggest reasons offered for the need to reform was cost.

"Private insurance is serially overpriced," Puig said. "When you inject another option, you reduce that price. Private entities have the option of continuing to sell their product at the status quo price, in which case they fail, or they must lower their prices."

Dinkins also called for affordable health care for all, but by different means.

"We need to create affordable health care without doing damage to the private sector, without losing American jobs or putting a damper on values that the country was really built upon," Dinkins said.

Introducing a government-based option was the best means by which to improve our health care system, Puig said.

"It's true lots of liberals believe health care is a public right," Puig said. "Even if you don't believe this way, when you see how much money we're wasting on health care, you see we cannot fiscally continue on this track."

Dinkins disagreed with the introduction of a government sponsored health care initiative because he said it was in essence a government takeover.

"It's not a takeover fundamentally," Puig said. "The government isn't taking the companies away. It's providing a third option."

Neither party reached a consensus by the end of the night.

"The reason we haven't pushed through a public option is because we thought the Republicans would have been willing to compromise," Puig said. "Clearly that's not the case. That's the reason you're about to get Obamacare shoved down your throat, because we thought you should have played nice."

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