A Fraction of the Whole

By Megan Breckenridge, Samantha Rivera, Jeff Barker, Taylor TurnerProject 2 thumbnail

A Fraction of the Whole

Kathryn Vasquez, known to her friends and coworkers as “Kat,” is but one of the many students on campus suffering a major blow from the school’s recent Affordable Care Act adoption.

Vasquez is an advertising student at the University of Texas In August, she, along with three fellow coworkers, were promoted to program assistants at the Recreational Sports Center—one of four rec centers located at the University of Texas.

As a program assistant, Vasquez takes on multiple tasks on a weekly basis. The four-person team creates semester-long schedules for three facilities they oversee.

Additionally, program assistants must complete payroll twice a month to ensure that all employees under their supervision are paid accordingly. Furthermore, Vasquez is scheduled to work three shifts a week. Needless to say, she has got a lot on her plate.

Just when you think this hectic schedule couldn’t get any worse, we learn that Vasquez must accomplish all these weekly tasks as well as attend her weekly shifts without surpassing 19 hours a week?

Affordable Care Act in Longhorn Country

Vasquez is but one of many students who have experienced major changes within the year and a half.

In December 2013, students working on campus were privy to speculation of the University scaling back on student-employee hours. The rumor had students like Vasquez deeply worried, and quite frankly in a panic.

Olivia Ruiz, a former student-employee at the University of Texas shared the hardships she was expecting to face once the school mandated the campus-wide audit that would limit employers to scheduling student-employees to 19 hours of work a week. The 19-hour limit would run from Monday to Sunday.

“I pay for my car, my rent, my groceries,” said Ruiz, “I used to work just under 40 hours a week when I attended UT, and even then I was able to just get by.”

 Like Ruiz, Vasquez is paying her way through school. Her job on campus is the main source of income.

Vasquez is aware of the recent changes in light of the push for Obamacare.

“I just wish we had the ability to opt out if we’re already insured,” said Vasquez.

 Other End of the Spectrum

Meredith Duncan, also a student at the University of Texas is pursuing a degree in Business Management. She works in the business office located at Gregory Gym, the largest indoor satellites facility for the Recreational Sports Program on campus.

Since becoming an employed student on campus, Duncan has been restricted to working no more than 19 hours a week. To her knowledge, students do not typically work more than the allotted amount, with the exception of special circumstances. These special circumstances may include part-time students or seniors registered for few classes.

Duncan noted though, that recently she has been asked to clock in a few extra hours, surpassing her weekly average of 16 hours a week. She expressed discomfort about having to take on extra hours at work due to the fact that she’s a full-time student at the competitive business school at her university.

When Duncan talked about the hour limit implemented at the University of Texas, she discussed the University’s intentions to push students to prioritize school over work.

“UT has a policy, you cannot work over 19 hours a week to make sure you are working on your school work,” says Duncan.

When asked if she believed the reduction in weekly hours was harmful, she fully supported the thought behind the hour restriction. Duncan explained that when she initially began working on campus, her supervisor emphasized the need to restrict student-employee hours in order to allow them to adequately focus on school.

 Is the Affordable Care Act Working?

In 2009, Presidobamacare-sign-ups-commonwealth 2ent Obama shed light on the alarmingly high rate of uninsured Americans at the time. What struck a chord with many was the way Obama depicted a situation that could happen to anyone at any time. According to a speech given in early September of that same year, Obama claimed one in three Americans went uninsured at one point in their lives. He also talked about how easily health insurance could be lost.

Proof in Numbers

Since its implementation, the Affordable Care Act has stunned many disbelievers. Although the numbers haven’t yet been made official, the total percentage of uninsured Americans has decreased significantly. According to the New York Times, there’s been a 25 percent reduction of uninsured residents. That roughly represents around 8 to eleven million Americans.

Of that 25 percent, half have applied and been approved for Medicaid insurance. As a result of the act, several states broadened the eligibility for insurance to those earning a relatively low income. Additionally 3 to 4 million young adults have become newly insured.

Health Care Industry

Many question whether or not the A.C.A. has improved or hurt the health industry. After serious scrutiny, Wall Street analysts and several experts in the health industry have drawn the same conclusion—the health industry is thriving as a whole.

With many citizens becoming newly insured, business is being brought to several spectrums of the healthy industry. New clients are filing in to insurers. More and more patients with the means to pay are being seen in hospitals across the country. There have also been more Americans seeking prescribed medication as a result of affordable consultations.

“The irony is if you look sector by sector, the A.C.A. has resulted in pretty substantial earnings across the board,” said Paul H. Keckley, a managing director at the Navigant Center for Healthcare Research and Policy Analysis.

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