Through the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, students at the University are spearheading efforts to make their peers aware of the changes happening in the health care system.
“Illinois PIRG is a statewide, non-partisan consumer advocacy group. We’ve worked on all different kinds of issues; we have worked on health care issues in the past, and we’re really excited to be working with the implementation of this,” said Rachel Binstock, campus organizer for the Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.
“Illinois PIRG is heading to campuses across the state to educate students about health care, so that’s pretty much what we’re doing at U of I,” said Michael King, senior in LAS and intern at the research group. “Right now we’re trying to educate students about the Affordable Care Act.”
Lauren Krone, sophomore in LAS and intern at the research group, said they are trying to get current information regarding the act to students to help prepare them for after graduation.
“It’s important for University of Illinois students because there are a lot of new options where young people have a lot more economically feasible ways of being covered since the Affordable Care Act went into effect,” said Krone
Illinois Public Interest Research Group hopes to make students aware of the changes and help them understand how they are affected by them.
“This educational campaign is statewide and we have a very ambitious goal of educating 60,000 students,” Binstock said. “We have a team of eight interns working here, and they each have a goal of educating a number of students throughout the semester.”
She said the research group exists in part to “stand up for the public against powerful interests” by lobbying, taking legal action and grassroots organizing.
“Traditionally young people have been widely uninsured or inadequately insured — some people would say it’s because they’re invincible and they don’t need it, but I think that’s actually a misnomer,” Binstock said.
She also said most young people between the ages of 18 and 35 are interested in health insurance, but they just can’t afford it.
“Our goal for the campaign is to get people aware about the Affordable Care Act and aware that there are resources for them when they graduate, when they fall off their parent’s health insurance plans and they don’t know where to go because they’ve never handled health insurance,” said Binstock.
Bryan can be reached at [email protected].