Don’t endanger student health care

Story by Taylor Kuether, Managing Editor

Nearly 50 million Americans live without health insurance. I am one of those Americans. I rely on free and low-cost clinics like the university’s own Student Health Service for affordable, accessible health care. I hate to think that such a beneficial service could be endangered.

While only in the very preliminary stages, our Student Senate has expressed an interest in “shopping around” for a private company to replace SHS. This could change the accessibility to an on-campus student health facility for students without health insurance, and to me that seems too high a price to pay.

While a lot of time, votes, and approvals remain before this proposal could even become a reality, I want to alert you to what we as students could lose and what is at risk here.

SHS is funded primarily by student segregated fees, which are fees paid along with each student’s tuition. We the students are paying to keep this service running; so go utilize it! Visits to SHS are free for students and may only cost a small fee for things such as lab work, medicine or supplies.

SHS offers a variety of basic medical services ranging from general medical exams, lab services, minor surgical procedures, health information, anxiety and depression treatment, tobacco cessation assistance, immunizations, allergy shots, sexually transmitted infection testing and men’s and women’s health                   care specifics.

The latter is particularly important, as equally affordable Planned Parenthood clinics are facing closure all over the country – just recently, four centers in Wisconsin were forced to shut down, including the clinic in our neighboring town Chippewa Falls. College women need a place to turn to for affordable contraceptive services, and with Planned Parenthood consistently under fire as of late, where else can we turn but to our own university’s health center? Personally, I know I don’t want to lose that                  valuable resource.

When something is by the public, for the public, it is better geared to serve all members of the public, including individuals from all income brackets and socioeconomic backgrounds. With the out-of-control budget cuts our nation is forcing itself to implement, these affordable options are seeing their resources and support dwindle almost to nothing.

So, what can you do? First, utilize the services we have available to us – clearly the list of services offered at SHS is extensive and you’re already paying for it through paying tuition. Let SHS know you appreciate them and the work they do by filling out a comment card at your next appointment – that information really is used to help them improve.

You can also let Student Senate know how you feel — they are meant to be a representative body of WE, THE STUDENTS, after all. Write a letter to senate expressing your support for SHS and concern for losing such an incredible resource.

Do what you can to help. Because this could cost me the only health care I have access to, and I know I’m not alone.