Photo Courtesy of Nicolas Armenta | Photo Editing by Haley Hoidal
After years of seeing his family struggle to obtain proper medical coverage, senior Public Relations Major Nicolas Armenta’s passion for free, universal health care amplified as the government continued interfering with the benefits they’d receive.
While studying abroad in London his sophomore year, Armenta — who is the president of Pepperdine College Democrats — and his fellow classmates gained access to the National Health System, the United Kingdom’s free health insurance. Armenta ultimately paid the same amount he was paying each month for his health insurance in the United States for an entire year’s worth of coverage in the U.K.
“I have never experienced anything like that, and the level of care was on par if not even a little better than here [in the United States],” Armenta said. “It really made me an advocate for universal health care, having experienced the majority of my life in private health care — and the one year I spent in the U.K., is obviously not indicative of how the system is as a whole — but that system was leaps and bounds better than it is here.”
His general visits, prescriptions (both emergency and non-emergency), delivery of the medication to his home, blood work and the offering of free physical therapy, cost him nothing.
“The U.S. is number one in health care, but not for the reasons people think,” Armenta said. “We’re number one for spending over $10,000 per capita, which is double the amount of countries with universal health care, and we don’t even guarantee our citizens health care.”
Regarding the Affordable Care Act, Armenta said he suggests the “repeal and replace” notion for Republicans who are actively trying to revoke the health care that the legislation provides. Rather than revoking the legislation altogether, Republicans should propose an alternative that provides Americans with other forms of health care in return, Armenta said.
In Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Inaugural Speech, which Armenta quoted, Reagan stated, “The nine most terrifying words in the English are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Armenta argues that one should not fear the government, considering it is an institution intended to help.
Armenta, who has a Certificate in Conflict Management, said he advocates for a social change in our country in which this sentiment from Reagan is abandoned entirely. He argues for a system where U.S> tax dollars can be tangibly seen in the overall improvements to their health care.
“To have something that you’re paying for and actively seeing it work every day — every time you go to the doctor and having that real-life impact because of your tax money going to it — that will change people’s narrative,” Armenta said. “Nothing is too ambitious in the wealthiest country in the world.”
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