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Students push for health reforms

by: Chase Allgood, Two Pacific students created a string of crosses on campus Sunday to draw attention to the estimated 47 million Americans who don’t have medical insurance.

When the Democrats seeking the U.S. Senate nomination hit Forest Grove on Sunday, they were greeted by a string of crosses.

Pacific University students Nikki Hurtado and Elias Gilman hoped the display would catch the eyes of the four Democratic senate hopefuls who showed up at McCready Hall for the televised debate (see story on page 2A).

The duo set out an array of white memorial crosses signifying the number of Americans who are estimated to die each year because of a lack of medical insurance.

The display, Hurtado said, grew out of a political science class the two are taking on campus examining social action and dissent.

Hurtado and Gilman hoped that their display might show the weaknesses of health-care reforms proposed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, that would still require Americans to purchase medical insurance for their families.

'Most of the things that are being talked about by the presidential candidates is to have private insurance that everyone pays for and a lot of working class families can't afford that,' Hurtado said.

According to the U.S. Census, 47 million Americans lack medical insurance.

Their demonstration, Hurtado said, was about getting the United States to look a little more like Europe.

'It's about finding a single-payer system a lot like European plans,' Hurtado said.

During the debate, that idea was endorsed by one candidate, Candy Neville, who said she would like to get insurance companies out of the health-care business.