I am a junior at Pratt Institute with a major in Creative Writing and a minor in Psychology. After college, I hope to pursue a job in creative writing.
My family and I qualify for Medicaid although we’ve had to switch to metro-plus because Medicaid wasn’t as accessible for our needs. Due to the limitations under Medicaid, I really struggled with being able to access certain doctors and therapy because a lot of therapists didn’t take my insurance. It took me months to find the care I needed. In one instance this caused me to go into debt, because I went into a therapy office thinking that they covered me. However, days after the session they informed me that it was not fully covered by my insurance and gave me a bill that I couldn’t pay off for months. I’ve also noticed the more advanced therapy treatments I need like EMDR are inaccessible to me because it is only for people who have the funds to pay out of pocket. My family and I also struggled with getting our prescriptions filled under Medicaid as many pharmacies, for example Walgreens didn’t accept our insurance.
I think we shouldn’t have to be upper class or rich to have good care. Lower-income individuals are always at the short end of the stick when it comes to these things. Therapists don’t take insurance because the health care system doesn’t pay them enough. In return this causes therapists to overcharge and only cater to upper-class people which leaves us with nothing. This is not fair to those who have chronic illnesses who cant afford to pay for treatment. It’s ridiculous we have to pay to get the help we need to live.
Azania “Sammie” Maitland is a rising Junior who majors in Political Science and minors in Legal Studies at Hunter College. She hopes to work for the State for 1-2 years prior to entering grad school to study Public Policy. Knowing the challenges that uninsured or underinsured New Yorker’s are facing, she feels privileged that she has a family that is more or less able to get by. As a full time college student she is insured via Medicaid and has struggled with the gap in adequate dental coverage. She’s a self-professed dental-phobe due to some bad experiences in the past, because finding a quality dentist with her insurance is a challenge. Unfortunately, the costs for dental work out of pocket can be astronomical. It worries her, if she gets a cavity, an infection, or needs something like a root canal – that she wouldn’t be able to get appropriate care to fix the issue.
I’m currently majoring in Theater and Communication as a minor. I am a fifth year student at SUNY New Paltz. After I graduate college, I am looking into the acting industry and trying to become an actor. I am covered through my parents’ health insurance, and I am concerned about losing my health insurance. I know that we had to change insurance a bunch of times, because we stopped being eligible for the previous ones. My parents have not held a job that provided us with health insurance. Thank God my family and I have been healthy, so we are not struggling with high medical bills or debt right now. Even though my family have never struggled with health care, I know people have broken their finger and can’t go get checked because they only have Medicaid and don’t get as much coverage. I believe that considering how advanced this country is we should have a better health care system. If you put a little more taxes towards medical care instead of other things, I believe it would make a huge difference in the quality of care. Universal health care is good because everyone has the right to live and lead a healthy life. We have no control over health, and having people pay that much to get help is absurd. Specifically people that are struggling financially and don’t have access to health insurance. You’re just adding more stress with debt if they choose to get the help that they need.
My name is Kisbel Estevez. I am studying Sociology with a concentration in Criminology, and a double minor in Deaf Studies and Communication. I am a senior at SUNY New Paltz. I plan on attending Graduate school in Manhattan. There have been many occasions where myself and/or my family members have needed medical assistance but we’re told our insurance wasn’t accepted so we were turned away. We were forced to deal with it ourselves most of the time. I am covered through my mother’s job, I have Health First Medicaid. I am very much concerned about losing my health benefits; health benefits are not something that comes easy to minorities in America, sad to say. I am struggling with costs of medical bills. Hospital visits can be overwhelming. It can be a back and forth dispute between hospital expenses and my insurance covering it. It is very unreasonable how we are not able to have accessible healthcare for all when many other places around the world are able to achieve this. Universal healthcare is a good idea, because a universal system doesn’t rely solely on government funding. It can provide better coverage for every person. We need to put more efforts into providing a more accessible healthcare system which provides TO ALL.
My name is Jessica Ezem. I am a Theater major with Concentration in Performance and Minor in Black Studies. I am a Junior at SUNY New Paltz. I have an idea of what I want to do after I graduate college but I have no concrete plan. My family and I have never encountered the issue of not receiving healthcare when needed. I have health insurance covered by Medicaid under my parents. I fear I’ll lose coverage from aging out of my parents plan. I know sooner or later I will have to apply and have my own plan. My family does not struggle with medical bills, but I do have people close to me that do because of their insurance coverage. We need a more equitable health care system; everyone should have access to resources to take care of themselves and their health. The determined factor of life and death shouldn’t be based on the amount of money a person makes. Someone shouldn’t have to decide between paying bills for their health or paying their rent bill. Universal healthcare is a great idea; it ensures healthcare for all.
My name is Jennifer Chuqui and I am a freshman at Queens College, CUNY. I am majoring in Psychology and I’m interested in going into either forensic or clinical psychology after college. I was originally drawn to psychology because I see a therapist and I know how impactful it is to have support and guidance from a professional in the field. Mental health is an important part of healthcare that is often overlooked. Many people avoid going to life saving treatments, such as therapy, due to the hefty copays and lack of in-network providers.
Personally, I can relate to the financial stressors brought on by seeking essential health services. A few years ago, I went to a routine dental cleaning. At the check up, my doctor discovered that I had an infection and needed a root canal. My dentist couldn’t provide this service himself, so he recommended another in-network doctor. Upon contacting the other dentist, his office said that the procedure would cost an additional $600, even though it was covered by health insurance. They were wrongfully trying to take money from my parents. At this point, I was worried about the financial burden that this would place on my family. My parents are separated, so they both planned on paying half, but it would still be a huge expense for us. Luckily, in the end I was able to receive the procedure with no additional cost. Doctors should not have to spend their time parsing through complicated insurance plans. There should also be less convoluted language in insurance plans so that it is harder for doctors to overcharge their patients. Instead, doctor’s offices need a simple, universal plan so that they have stricter guidelines and have more time to focus on administering life saving and highly important treatments.
Outside of my root canal experience, I have concerns about paying for health insurance in the future. I currently have medicaid. While it is covering my health treatments for the time being, I worry about aging out of the system. If I do not meet the income requirements, I could lose my health insurance, while still not being able to afford treatments.
The New York Health Act would create a more equitable healthcare system. Currently, one’s financial resources determine access to care. Even if one is able to access care, there can still be financial stressors related to healthcare, such as with my root canal. With the New York Health Act, everyone would be able to have the right to healthcare, while paying much less for treatment.