Grad families seek cheaper healthcare

first_imgFor some Notre Dame community members, a minor infection or fever can be a major source of anxiety. Angela Campbell, a Canadian citizen whose husband is a graduate student in political science, has lived without health insurance since the couple arrived at Notre Dame five years ago. Campbell was recently sick for six weeks, and put off medical care for as long as possible. “I just kept saying, ‘I just have to get better, I don’t want to go to the doctor,’” she said. “In the event that something really bad would happen, I would probably just get in my car and drive [nine hours] to Canada.” Notre Dame’s health insurance premium for spouses of students is over $4,000, and Campbell doesn’t qualify for state healthcare. The cost for insuring a spouse and all children this year under the University’s health plan is nearly $7,500 for each family. And with graduate students making as little as $17,500 per year, Campbell said purchasing University health insurance is almost impossible. The Campbells’ situation is not unique for graduate student families, both international and American. With the University’s high premiums for dependents, and difficulty finding alternate coverage, many graduate student families must resort to paying out of pocket for routine medical care. Greg Sterling, Dean of the Graduate School, said the University has been working for a long time to find a better solution for these families. “This is an issue that keeps me up at night; I feel terrible about it. And there’s nobody who doesn’t want to help in the central administration — the challenge is the cost,” Sterling said. “Right now, sometimes people say, well, ‘the University has money.’ Well, the University does have money, but it’s all committed. And so you make choices.” But the costs, he said, are staggering—up to several million dollars each year. “It would take several million dollars per year. It’s not one time. If we could come up [with] $2 million to fix the problem — it’s not just for one year; it is every year,” he said.  Since becoming Dean in 2008, Sterling has been addressing two main priorities for graduate students — their stipends, which have gone up, and their health insurance. Health insurance for the individual student has become more affordable. Healthcare affordability for the families of graduate students, however, has been an issue since University Health Director Ann Kleva came to Notre Dame in 1994.   “It’s just been a very sensitive issue for all the years that I’ve been here, the cost of family health,” she said. “Health insurance for any family today is very, very expensive…especially when you’re on a limited income.” At The Village: Ways of Coping Campbell said healthcare issues are almost a fact of life within the University Village community, Notre Dame’s student family housing. “Everyone, every one of my neighbors has major issues with health insurance or they’re uninsured,” Campbell said. What she said really scares her is the prospect of needing emergency or long-term medical care. “I always hope that if something really bad happens it’s in our car, because our car insurance covers the medical cost,” she said. “[I think] ‘if I have to break a leg, please let it be in my vehicle.’” Campbell’s husband is insured by the University plan, and the Campbells’ two sons are American citizens, so they qualify for Hoosier Healthwise— Indiana’s state Medicaid plan. But the Campbells’ first daughter, 6, is a Canadian citizen and only qualifies for emergency healthcare under the state plan. “It’s very stressful,” Campbell said. Nathan Elliot, rector of University Village, said international children are the most vulnerable under the current healthcare setup since they only qualify for emergency care under the state plan. “Here at the Village we have a pretty good network of people who share what they do with others, that’s fortunate,” Elliot said.  “[But] at least the way I think about it is it shouldn’t have to be that complicated, I think we could do better.” Why are the premiums so high? Sam Rund, president of the Graduate Student Union (GSU,) said every time someone asks him what issues are most important to graduate students, insurance for dependents is at the top of his list. “It could literally be a life or death issue for someone,” Rund said. “There’s this extra special obligation I feel to fight for insurance coverage for these people.” The question many graduate students have is: why can’t Notre Dame, a well-endowed University, make healthcare for families more affordable? Some graduate schools of comparable universities offer much lower premium rates for families. But Sterling said comparing Notre Dame to other schools wouldn’t be comparing “apples to apples,” because universities with lower premiums may not have as comprehensive a plan as Notre Dame. “A lot of the differences you see in the price will depend on the level of services the insurance provides,” he said. He said that Yale University, which provides a very reasonable health plan for families, also has a much greater endowment per student than Notre Dame does. Ricky Klee, a graduate student in theology, said by making it difficult for graduate students to have families at Notre Dame, the University is going against its Catholic background that promotes family life. Klee has participated in protests outside the Main Building the past few years and helped coordinate a petition to the administration in the spring of 2010. “Doing the numbers it is expensive, it’s almost a million dollars a year,” Klee said. “But [comparing that] to varsity athletics teams, increases in executives’ salaries…the question is, which is imperative. It’s more important to make sure the kids can go to the doctor.” Sterling said a significant amount of the University budget has gone to the Graduate School in recent years, and much of that money has contributed to the rise in student stipends—something that is beneficial for every student. Even within the Catholic faith, Sterling said, some students say it’s the University’s responsibility to provide healthcare for families, while others think it’s a personal responsibility. “Another factor which people will ask and debate is the role…the extent to which the University is responsible, versus which the student is responsible for their own family,” he said. Future Effects of Healthcare Reform Sterling said he recognizes graduate student families have an immediate need for healthcare coverage. But there’s no “magic wand.” “I do think that we would like to find a far better solution to this than what currently exists because what currently exists is not good,” he said. Sterling said with the stipulations of healthcare reform, which will be phased in next year and eventually require the University to provide unlimited coverage, premium prices will continue to rise. He said the Graduate School has been looking at different ways to cut the cost of healthcare for dependents. One solution would be to provide discounted clinical service at the new Wellness Centerthat will open in July. “We’ve lobbied, and with a great deal of sympathy from the Provost, and the Executive Vice President, and the President, to have the spouses and dependents of graduate students receive healthcare from the Wellness Center,” Sterling said. But right now, there are no specifics. Kleva said she anticipates the situation to remain difficult for graduate student families until healthcare reform passes in Washington, D.C. “Personally, I believe [healthcare reform] truly will be a benefit for lower income families that need healthcare insurance, because they’ll have options and the government will be offering subsidies for those that meet income levels,” Kleva said. “Again, you don’t know when all this is going to pass.” With University premiums projected to rise over the next few years, government subsidies that come with healthcare reform may be the only promising option for many graduate student families at Notre Dame. “I have to say, I love ND for so many reasons, it is really a wonderful place to be,” [Angela] Campbell said. “[But] being in the Village we’re quite forgotten and health insurance is just another thing on the list.”last_img read more

Panama Canal Expansion Completed

first_imgBy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Desmond Parks, Navy Public Affairs Support Element July 01, 2016 Leadership aboard Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), alongside Commander, United States Southern Command Adm. Kurt Tidd and U.S. ambassador to Panama John D. Feeley, hosted a Panama Canal Expansion ceremony while in port Balboa, Panama, June 25. The ceremony marked the opening of a $5.4 billion expansion of the Panama Canal that spanned over the course of a decade, allowing larger ships to pass through the canal and significantly improve long-term global trade. “The Panama Canal is the most important economic feature of this region,” said Adm. Tidd. “It connects the economic livelihood of nations all around the world.” In preparation for the expansion, ports on the East Coast of the U.S. and in the Gulf of Mexico have invested over $30 billion in deepening channels and building new loading docks to prepare for greater traffic and increased trade, according to the American Association of Port Authorities. Although there isn’t an expectation for immediate improvement in global trade, the expansion is expected to directly benefit both security and trade within the region. In addition to guest speakers, Adm. Tidd and Ambassador Feeley, U.S. Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden also attended the ceremony and met with Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and U.S. embassy officials to celebrate the Panama Canal expansion. “Oak Hill is extremely proud to be able to participate in this historic event,” said Cmdr. Orlando Bowman, commanding officer aboard Oak Hill. “The ability to represent the U.S., as well as continuing to strengthen our partnership with Panama is an incredible experience for the crew.” “U.S. Southern Command is the organizer for one of the largest multinational exercises involving over 21 nations this year engaged in the security of the Panama Canal,” said Adm. Tidd. “All of the countries of the region and beyond have a shared responsibility working hand-in-hand with the government of Panama to secure this important economic item.” PANAMAX brings together partner nations to participate in training scenarios from various U.S. locations to increase interoperability among participating nations. The main focus of the exercise is to guarantee safe passage through the Panama Canal, ensure Panama’s neutrality and respect its sovereignty. For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy. For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.last_img read more

Cricket faces a ’70s-style moment of reckoning

first_imgBy Ian Chappell(The ongoing pay dispute between CA and the players shows how the greed of boards and the lure of T20 leagues could spell tricky times ahead)SUDDENLY it’s shades of 1977 in Australian cricket. The players’ association has rejected the financial deal proposed by the board and there is uncertainty surrounding the next television-rights deal.A similar formula in 1977 resulted in the advent of World Series Cricket. The players were agitating for better pay and conditions and Kerry Packer – the owner of the Nine network – was apoplectic when the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) refused his offer of substantially more money for the television rights, then held by the ABC network.Kerry Packer didn’t take rebuttal lightly and with his curse, “the devil take the hindmost”, ringing in their ears, he commenced a torrid legal battle with the cricket administrators. He found plenty of willing allies among the players, and worldwide more than 50 signed to play for the television magnate.The animosity towards the administrators had been building among the Australian players since the tours of India and South Africa in 1969-70. In 1974-75, Dennis Lillee – the premier fast bowler – had just returned after a serious back injury and described his displeasure at the pay scale (A$200 per Test), in a series of newspaper articles.The chairman of the ACB then, Tim Caldwell, pleaded with me as captain: “Tell your fast bowler to back off in his newspaper articles.” My response was simple: “Why don’t you tell him yourself, Tim, because I happen to agree with him.”From there it gradually went downhill, to the point in 1977-78 where WSC played its first season in direct competition with the ACB’s series between Australia and India.“I’m not suggesting it has reached that same stage in Australia again; the players are too well paid these days to seriously contemplate a strike against their major employer. However, the greed that has been palpable in cricket for the last decade looks like it might be coming home to roost.Worldwide, boards have been guilty of siphoning every last dollar out of their media deals. The result in some regions has been detrimental to the game, which is now only available on subscription TV in the UK. Indian viewers are entitled to complain that the cricket coverage gets in the way of them watching the ads.The television companies pay so heavily for the rights that, understandably, they then try to capitalise on any commercial opportunity in an attempt to recoup some of their investment.The players – in Australia at least – are so used to being well remunerated that they’re unhappy at any hint their livelihood may be curtailed. The difference now, compared to 1977? The players have lucrative T20 leagues as alternative employment if they’re unhappy with the board’s offer.This is a situation of the administrators’ making. They demand exorbitant prices for the media rights, so surely they must expect the players to be just as financially vigilant. And it was the administrators who devised the IPL and other burgeoning T20 leagues, which has increased the financial options for cricketers.The greed of the administrators – they claim it is money needed to run the game – has resulted in the players expecting regular pay increases every time a new media-rights deal is struck.In the meantime, there is a surfeit of one-sided Test and ODI matches, where the number of really competitive teams – especially away from home – is insufficient to keep up with the increased attractiveness of T20 games. The ability of T20 leagues to lure star overseas players and the relative shortness of the contest means they have serious advantages over the longer forms of cricket.T20 matches capitalise on the attraction of close finishes and possible upsets. In the shorter game, there is more likelihood that scores will remain close, and a favoured team can always lose to a less fancied side.For all but the marquee series and tournaments, this has meant that T20 leagues are growing in television value, while the longer versions of the game are in danger of receding. The current Australian wrangle could well be an insight into where cricket’s future is headed.(ESPN Cricinfo)last_img read more

DStv, GOtv Set to Showcase Laliga Big Games

first_imgRound 21 of the 2018/19 La Liga season will, again, offer Atletico Madrid the chance of putting pressure on leaders Barcelona, while Real Madrid will hope to bridge the gap between them and their table-topping rivals. The matches will be live on DStv and GOtv.Atletico play at home to sixth-placed Getafe on Saturday evening (4.15pm on SS7 & SelGo4), while Barca will be in action away to Girona on Sunday (4.15pm on SS7 & SelGo4). Diego Simeone’s side will, on the evidence of the 3-0 thumping of Huesca last week, fancy their chances of picking up all three points and move within two points of Barcelona, who will seek to restore their five-point advantage againstGirona.Real Madrid will hope to see their two rivals slip up, as they bid to revive their title hopes. They moved to third on the table with a 2-0 win over Sevilla last weekend and will be favourites to build further momentum when they play away to Espanyol on Sunday night (8.45pm on SS7 & SelGo4). Elsewhere, Karl Toko Ekambi and Samuel Chukwueze’s Villarreal will seek to halt their slide toward the foot of the table when they head to the Mestalla to face Valencia on Saturday night (6.30pm on SS7A & SelGo4). Villarreal are winless in their last seven matches across all competitions and have slipped into the red zone of La Liga.Sevilla will look to reinforce their place in the top four when they face Levante on Saturday (on SS7 & SelGo4), while Athletic Bilbao will look to maintain their promising recent form with a win at home to Real Betis (Saturday, 8.45pm on SS7/SS10 & SelGo2/SelGo4). Also on Saturday, Leganes will take on Eibar (6.30pmon SS7 & SelGo4).Sunday will see clashes between Real Valladolid and Celta de Vigo (12pm on SS7/SS10 & SelGo2/SelGo4) as well as Real Sociedad and Huesca (6.30pm on SS6).Mubarak Wakaso’s Deportivo Alaves will look to recover from the 4-0 loss to Getafe last weekend when they host relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano on Monday (on SS7 & SelGo4 at 9pm).Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more