(KCPW News) The legislature's Health System Reform Task Force has been considering legislation that would require students enrolled in state colleges and universities to purchase health insurance. But Commissioner of Higher Education William Sederburg says he's worried this would keep some students from enrolling.
"I'm sure that most of the colleges would be happy to look at the option, but we are very concerned about the price right now. If the cost is too high, it definitely limits the ability of students to go onto college and make something of themselves. So we are very conscious of the price," Sederburg said.
Sederburg says he's especially concerned about preserving the open enrollment missions of community colleges.
But overall, he supports the idea of more students enrolling in health insurance plans, especially after his uninsured son had to have major heart surgery while in grad school.
"I think that is the prevailing attitude of many of our students, that they just can't see themselves as needing this kind of health care insurance. So there is that element, the cost is certainly huge, and so those two elements, cost and then kind of a sense of invincibility leads many students not to have health insurance. And I think it is appropriate for the state to try and figure out how to provide health care for the students, again the devil is in the details here," Sederburg said.
Sederburg says he would support a low-cost insurance program that provides treatment for catastrophic injuries. He adds that he would support broader measures like requiring health insurance before a person can get a driver's license.