Knox College students said that by interacting with the presenters of the 2018-19 Robison Lecture, they learned more about the U.S. health care system and the crucial role of affordable, accessible health care.
Stephani Becker from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Graciela Guzman of Protect Our Care-Illinois gave the October 3 lecture, titled “Non-Profit Activism and the Affordable Care Act.”
Becker and Guzman also had lunch with Pre-Health Club students and visited a few classes: Introduction to Sociology, taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology-Sociology Christopher Conner, and Spanish for Health Care and Spanish Medical Interpreting, both taught by Associate Professor of Modern Languages Robin Ragan.
Jenn Erl '19, who is taking the Spanish Medical Interpreting class, plans to work as a Spanish medical interpreter after graduating from Knox. “I definitely gained some insight about the current health care experiences of many immigrants today, which was very valuable information,” said Erl, who is majoring in modern languages.
In the lecture, Becker and Guzman presented what Becker described as a “crash course in health policy.” They discussed the federal Affordable Care Act, its impact, and how non-profit organizations work toward eliminating health care inequality.
The ACA is “a real success story,” in terms of decreasing the number of people in Illinois without health insurance, Becker said.
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law is among the lead agencies in Protect Our Care-Illinois, a coalition of organizations and individuals working to prevent the repeal of the ACA and to protect and expand access to quality affordable health care.
Guzman said that part of the coalition’s work involves reaching out to lawmakers and others in various ways, such as by proposing legislation.
“Advocacy is a powerful catalyst for change,” Guzman said.
Knox student Grace LaDuca '21 said she attended the lecture because she is interested in learning about how health care was made more accessible through the Affordable Care Act and how it can be made more accessible in the future. “I gained a better understanding about how important a reliable, inexpensive, and attainable health care plan is in order to give people necessary health benefits and quality of life,” said LaDuca, who plans to major in biology.
She noted that Guzman spoke, in Spanish, earlier in the day to her Spanish Medical Interpretation class.
“During that presentation, Graciela shared more of her own personal stories relating to the health care system in the United States and made it clear that equitable and accessible health care can be the difference between life and death,” LaDuca said. “I gained more insight into why Graciela was so passionate about connecting people with good, affordable health care plans and preserving laws like the Affordable Care Act.”
The Charles B. Robison Lecture is made possible by the support of Charles B. Robison ‘34, who majored in history at Knox. He later became an attorney, devoting his career to handling highly complex insurance issues.
(Photo above: Graciela Guzman speaks to students in Robin Ragan's class. Photo courtesy of Stephani Becker. Photo below: Becker and Guzman)