Why should you pay for a Student Health Lock-In Fee increase?

Many students will be asking themselves this very thing come April 23 and 24, UCSB campus election days, especially students who don’t use Student Health. What some don’t realize is, whether or not you use Student Health, you benefit from its presence on campus. Student Health does many things outside of providing health care, including: Hepatitis B shots and awareness, Meningitis awareness on campus, Student Health Insurance information and waivers, alcohol and other drug awareness, Health Education, and even public responses to biological terrorism. Believe it or not, Student Health was swamped with questions about how it would react if UCSB were the target of some wayward terrorists.

This Spring, Student Health is asking for a $3 increase to the undergraduate lock-in fee, bringing the total amount of the lock-in fee to $15. Student Health has not received a lock-in fee increase in over a decade. Student Health needs this increase not only because it is sustaining budget cuts, but also because the cost of medical inflation increased by 15 percent last year. The $3 increase is only predicting a 4-5 percent increase in medical inflation.

The cost of medical care at Student Health is also about 50 percent less expensive than receiving services from a community health care provider. In addition, financial aid covers the cost of the lock-in fee, while visit fees are not covered by financial aid.

If the lock-in fee does not pass, Student Health will have to increase the per visit fee to about $26 per visit. Those who utilize Student Health will obviously benefit from a lock-in fee increase as opposed to a per-visit fee increase. Sixty-six percent of all undergraduate students use Student Health at least once a year.

Student Health benefits from the stable funding source that a lock-in fee gives them. Voting yes on the Student Health lock-in fee increase would ensure that Student Health would be able to provide a full range of services in 2002-2003. A general increase in the lock-in fee for the whole undergraduate body would not be taxing the many to benefit the few. Vote yes on the Student Health Lock-in Fee!

Beth Van Dyke is the Gauchoholic candidate for external vice president for statewide affairs.