Health care reform and what it means for us

Congress has just passed one of the most influential bills in American history, leaving many people wondering: What does it mean for me?Despite the sacrifices made by Obama to tackle bipartisanship obstacles, more than 30 million Americans will soon find themselves with affordable health care options. In a state like Vermont, numbers like these make a big splash.In Vermont alone, almost 75,000 residents who are uninsured or underinsured will have access to an affordable health care plan — that’s more than 12 percent of Vermont’s population.There are also sweeping benefits for the 104,000 who receive Medicaid coverage. Free preventative care will help seniors in Vermont live longer lives.These numbers are staggering in a state with just over 600,000 people, and these changes will be felt by hundreds of thousands of people in need.Vermont’s per capita income level is five percent lower than the national average. There are also 60,000 Vermonters below the poverty level who will have a public health care option to chose from.There are numerous other benefits that call for the support of this bill.Small businesses — Vermont has 11,500 of them — will get help through tax credits to reduce health care premium costs.College students and young adults will also be allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. This could dramatically effect the amount of insurance sold through UVM.All of these numbers and facts mean huge change for millions, and they should be a topic of discussion among every person in this country.Vermont could see huge changes.Because our population is so small compared with the national average, implementations of this bill are going to be highly evident and deserve our attention now more than ever.However, there seemed to be minimal interest in the bill as far as college-age students are concerned.Many didn’t know this bill was happening, even though it will directly affect their lives.Despite the last year of partisan standoff, we have witnessed what could be regarded as one of the biggest legislative victories of our time. The effects of that victory will be seen right in UVM’s backyard, so pay attention.