Students Talk Back: A Weekly Politics and Public Policy Forum

On Wednesday October 2nd – the day after the California Health Exchanged opened- the Schwarzenegger Institute, in partnership with the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, and the USC Daily Trojan co-hosted a Students Talk Back panel on the Affordable Care Act where the panelists took a hard look at the Affordable Care Act and what it means for young people. This was the 4thforum this semester bringing thought leaders to USC to discuss important issues impacting our students, our state and our world.

Bonnie Reiss, Global Director of the Schwarzenegger Institute opened the panel by acknowledging Governor Schwarzenegger’s long-standing commitment to healthcare access for all Californians and referenced his many legislative efforts to expand health insurance access in California including being the first Governor in the U.S. to sign a bill creating a state health exchange, putting California out ahead of the nation on this important issue.

This week’s panelist included Tamika Butler, California Director of  Young Invincibles, Dana Goldman founding Director of the Scheaffer Center and USC students Sarah Axeen and Julia Wick. The panelists spoke to the audience about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the opening of the California Health Exchange on October 1st, and what young people could expect from these changes to healthcare policy.   

Tamika Butler, California Director, Young Invincibles, robustly defended the ACA and strongly argued that young people have greater access to health insurance now than they did before the law was passed.  Dana Goldman, Ph.D., USC Norman Topping Chair in Medicine and Public Policy and Director, USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, highlighted the important point that health insurance alone can't solve all of California's health problems.  He said that in addition to providing greater access to healthcare policymakers need to continue improving education and addressing socio-economic issues that disadvantage large percentages of California's populace.  

USC student Sarah Axeen provided a clear and concise explanation of the Affordable Care Act for those in the room who were not overly familiar with the law and how it will impact them while the other USC student representative Julia Wick discussed the impact the ACA will have on women and women's health issues.

There was as usual a great Q and A with the audience who left with greater clarity about what the ACA is, how it impacts them, and the challenges it will face.

The purpose of Students Talk Back is to provide an informative and balanced discussion on the most pressing public policy challenges facing local, state, and federal government. Every Wednesday for the remainder of the 2013 Fall semester the Schwarzenegger Institute and the Unruh Institute will continue to co-host the Students Talk Back lunch and discussion series in RTCC 450 at 11:30am.