Students react to Affordable Care Act

Bill Gregory, an economics major at Wichita State, said he tried to help his mother sign up on the federal health care exchange. 

“But we can’t,” he said. “She makes too much money to get a subsidy, but not enough to afford coverage.”

Other WSU students have many other options available in the current climate of healthcare coverage. 

The portion of uninsured Americans has declined slightly from its peak of 16.3 percent four years ago to 15.4 percent as of last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

American veterans can receive health care through hospitals operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

About 101 million Americans — close to one-third the nation’s population — are covered either under Medicare (for senior citizens) or Medicaid (for those under the poverty line), according to the Census Bureau. Some WSU students are eligible for one of the programs, including about 160 senior citizens who attend classes at Wichita State under a no-credit, no-tuition offer from the Kansas Board of Regents

The majority of WSU students qualify for a provision in the Affordable Healthcare Act that allows citizens 26 and younger to be covered under their parents’ insurance plans. About two-thirds of WSU’s nearly 15,000 students are younger than 26 and are eligible.

Some students dislike the Affordable Heathcare Act.

“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” said Abby Lahar, a junior studying Integrated Marketing. “I don’t see any problem with the way it was before.”

The Affordable Care Act offered states federal funds to expand health insurance coverage to the poor through increased eligibility for Medicaid, but Kansas is one of several states that declined to expand Medicaid availability. One hundred thousand more Kansans would have been insured under Medicaid otherwise.

Kansas legislators have recently introduced a bill proposing to sever the state’s ties to the Affordable Care Act and join a Republican-sponsored project called the Health Care Compact, which eight other states have joined.

Other Wichita organizations that offer the aid of health insurance “navigators” to help with insurance applications include GraceMed Health Clinic and Via Christi hospital.