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USF College Democrats write letters to senator

USF College Democrats President Ralph Reid said members of the College Democrats “partied” with an unconventional theme Thursday night: letter writing.

Students with the USF and University of Tampa College Democrats wrote letters at the Marshall Student Center in support of health care reform to Senator Bill Nelson.

Reid said the letters will be sent today.

About 25 students from USF and UT, as well as members of Organizing for America, an organization that promotes community involvement in politics, attended the letter-writing party.

“It’s not an age issue, and it is not a political issue,” Reid said. “It’s a human being issue in making sure that we take care of ourselves and each other.”

President Barack Obama hopes to have a piece of legislation passed before the end of this year concerning health care. Obama proposes a public option plan that allows insured individuals to keep their plans, while those who are uninsured could use federal funds to pay for health care when needed, according to

Students are only covered under their parents’ insurance plan until age 23, Reid said.

“A lot of students are getting ready to enter the workforce, and health care is something they are going to have to deal with,” Reid said. “When they go out to work, health care premiums are something they are going to have to start paying.”

Blaire Yancy, a senior majoring in English at USF, said it is her duty as a citizen to express her needs to the government directly.

“It is important for us to engage our elected officials, because we choose them to represent us and for health insurance reform,” Yancy said.

Nelson said on his Web site the “health care system is broken and needs to be fixed.”

“The bill holds insurers’ feet to the fire by requiring them to cover everyone and preventing them from dropping someone if they get sick,” Nelson said. “Additionally, the bill includes several measures aimed at reducing overall medical and prescription drug costs and eliminating waste and fraud in the system.”

In her letter to Nelson, Yancy wrote that Floridians feel the “sacrifice” of paying for health insurance because of the “surprising” costs they receive when hospitalized.

“This proves the private insurance sector cares not about Floridians’ health, but about the money earned when Floridians get sick,” Yancy said in the letter. “Private insurance companies need the regulations health reform provides. Please, for Floridians, vote to support reform.”

Many students don’t realize how much health care will affect them, said Liaison Officer for Young Democrats of Hillsborough County Dave Haynes.

Haynes said although health care reform may not be significant to students right now, they should consider its significance for aging family members.

“We are young and think we’re indestructible, but all students have family members,” Haynes said. “Grandma and grandpa aren’t indestructible.”

Student and former president of USF College Democrats Nicholas Zateslo said he feels writing letters is a great way to personalize the health care issue and give senators real examples of why reform is needed.

“There is an equation used that for every letter written, it means ‘X’ amount of people care about that issue and support it,” Zateslo said. “They put them in piles, for and against, and add up to see where the popularity of an issue stands. So writing a hand-written letter really does matter.”