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Master debaters from the left and right clash on ACA

Connor Moriarty, For The Miami Student College Democrats and College Republicans held a debate Wednesday night to discuss the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) and the effects it has on the United States. According to College Democrats secretary Jace Smith, the debate was the first debate between the two college parties since 2008 and party representatives agreed the meeting went very well. “It has been so long since we have had a debate together,” College Republicans President Katey Papin said. “So it was fun to discuss an important issue while raising awareness to others.” Five members represented each side at the debate. The Republicans had Katey Papin, Bobby DeJohn, Charlie Meyer, Bethany Nye and Riley Cook. The Democrats had Jace Smith, Greg Baumgartner, Eden Thompson, Keary Jarussi and Matthew Rieger. Moderated by political science professor Brian Danoff, the debate consisted of opening statements from both sides, four total topics with opportunity for rebuttal, closing statements and audience questions. After a quick overview of what Obamacare is, Democrat Smith began his opening statement with a personal story representing how the topic of health care has and will affect people for generations. “What we are debating, everything we say affects real people with real lives,” Smith said. Republican Papin began her opening statement with examples of how Obamacare is full of false promises and fails to fix the problems the U.S. is facing. “The law itself is rooted in a far deeper problem that our country is facing: Obamacare represents the crisis of big government,” Papin said. The first discussion topic was about why health care reform was necessary and what alternative solutions would be beneficial to the healthcare system. Democrat Thompson began the debate by arguing how inherently unfair the old system was because of its enormous cost and factors such as preexisting condition policies. “The old health care system accounted for 17.7 percent of the US gross domestic product (GDP), more so than any other country,” Thompson said. “And people were being kicked from their health care plans for reasons such as their age.” Papin responded by explaining that an alternative solution to fixing the health care system is to give the power to the states, not federal law. She said she thinks with less federal regulations there are more opportunities for competition, which, in turn, will lower premiums. “The solution lies in creating more choices for the consumer,” Papin said. The next discussion topic addressed how Obamacare affects specific groups such as age groups and gender. The Republicans argued that higher health care costs (due to Obamacare) that companies are required to pay lead to the firing of employees or to the cutting of the amount of hours they work. In turn, this could make people ineligible for certain health plans. The Democratic rebuttal argued that numbers do not support the job killing narrative. Conversely, they said they think that women and elderly people benefit greatly from the new system because more care is now available to them for little or no cost. The third discussion topic asked the Democrats and Republicans what the economic effects of the Affordable Care Act are. The Republicans first answered by arguing that Obamacare will add to the national debt, using about $10.8 trillion for deficit spending over the next 10 years, which is the last thing this country needs during a recession.

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Keeping the faith: Student organizations call for equal religious accomodations

Connor Moriarty & Mariah Schlossmann, For The Miami Student As a university where the main religion is Christianity, Miami is making efforts to promote a more religiously diverse campus and increase awareness to more religious groups. According to the 2011 Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Survey that addressed the religion of registered first-year students, 32 percent identify as Roman Catholic, and approximately 65 percent identify themselves as some Christian denomination. Co-campus director of the Miami Navigators, a Christian group on campus, Mark Smith said he is not surprised that the majority of students at Miami identify themselves as Christian. “The majority of the country is Christian,” he said. “Miami’s campus seems to holds true to that number.” 77 percent of the adult US population identify themselves with a Christian religion according to the Gallup Daily Tracking Survey, an organization that tracks nationwide statistics. Mormonism and Judaism follow that percentage at 2.1 percent and 1.7 percent of the population respectively. Smith said he believes that part of the religious diversity on campus can be credited to Miami’s demographics. “Being mostly caucasian students from the suburbs, there isn’t a cultural precedence for interest in Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, etcetera.” Smith said.  “And the vast majority of our international population is Chinese who culturally are not religious.” Aminata Coulibaly, treasurer for Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), said MSA does not receive adequate attention from Miami. MSA’s goals are to create a place for Muslim students to gather and learn about the religion in a community setting, while teaching the Oxford community a little more about Islam. “Having to accommodate and pay attention to all religious groups on campus can be a lot of work, Coulibaly said. “However, it would be nice to have more interfaith dialogues on campus.” She also said Miami could accommodate for MSA and their faith better by allowing more diverse food options in campus dining halls. “Having halal/kosher food options at the food places on campus will be very helpful to us,” Coulibaly said. “Many of us become vegetarians when we live on campus, because we are unable to eat the food provided at the halls.” Currently MSA has 40 active members and prays in their office in MacMillan, but the nearest mosque is in West Chester, about 50 minutes away from Miami. Marcy Miller is the Executive director of Hillel at Miami, a non-profit Jewish cultural and educational organization that welcomes Jewish and non-Jewish students alike who strive to serve the Jewish student population as part of a campus community. “We specifically provide Jewish students with opportunities to explore their history and heritage, while helping them to understand the universal components of being Jewish,” she said.  “We not only serve the Jewish population, but also, true to our values, emphasize the need to help others in the world.”  According to Miller, there are about 1,000 Jewish students on campus, and about 500 of those students currently utilize the resources and opportunities provided by Hillel. Though there is no synagogue on campus, Miller said she believes that Miami is and has been open to bringing the diverse campus community together as a collective effort with Hillel and the many other groups that make up Miami. “Each and every one of us is diverse in some way,” Miller said.  “My hope is that all of us can come together to share our thoughts, customs and beliefs, whether those are secular, cultural or religious.” Miller said one of Hillel’s goals is to help and coexist with others and to not impede, and that is what has shaped their partnership with Miami. Hillel often host events open for anyone to come. “We host Breakfast for Dinner the first Tuesday of each month in the Hillel/Arthur Beerman Center which is open to all,” Miller said.  “And Saturday there a traditional Jewish wedding in MacMillan Hall for anyone to experience.” Sophomore Interior Design major Leah Gray said that she believes that students in Miami are often unaware of the various religious groups on campus and the events that they provide. “I couldn’t tell you the names of three religious groups,” Gray said. “I think it would be helpful for the groups to publicize themselves and the events they host outside of Shriver so can stay informed.”

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