Schwarz pens Free Press op-ed, "MSU's insurance mandate makes healthy sense"

February 16, 2012

Michigan State University's new policy to require incoming students to have health insurance or enroll in a university-provided plan has been criticized by some state lawmakers.

But Ford School lecturer John J.H. Schwarz, M.D. – a practicing surgeon and former member of the Michigan Senate and U.S. House of Representatives – applauds the university for guaranteeing all students have coverage.

"The policy is prudent and sensible," Schwarz wrote in his op-ed for the Detroit Free Press. "It serves to protect students and their families from large, sometimes catastrophically large, unexpected medical bills they can't afford."

In a recent hearing by the Michigan House higher education subcommittee, Republican members were uncomfortable with the university's decision to mandate health insurance, saying the additional cost would raise even more financial hurdles to attending college.

Schwarz counters that the cost would be not expensive "compared to the financial peril an uninsured student and his or her family could face." He adds that 85 percent of incoming students already have some form of insurance. "The remaining should have the same protection," Schwarz writes. "The university-sponsored plan satisfies that need at a reasonable cost."