Despite displeasure from the state legislature, concerned students and parents, Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon seems hell bent on keeping the new health care mandate in place.

Beginning with the freshman class this past fall semester, each and every enrolled student must purchase health insurance. Simon’s demand of current students is especially unreasonable with the consideration that they were not made aware of the requirement prior to matriculation. Effectually, these blindsided students were the recipients of a deceptive marketing ploy. Of course non-compliant young scholars are charged a sum of $1,505 for exactly one year’s worth of coverage by the University. Let me reiterate: there is not an option here. The enacted policy requires students to purchase insurance or pay the price and be insured based on their affiliation with the University.

Who gave the go-ahead for this authoritative ruling, you ask?  The culprit, President Simon, acted alone. Because in her view, only 14% of students are affected by the mandate; that is reason enough to keep the tax. The Board of Trustees was not given a say, nor were the most affected constituency: students. A top-down, authoritative approach to administrative governance has taken center stage – and the audience is far from satisfied.

One MSU Trustee has come forward. Melanie Foster, current Vice-Chair of the Board who seeks reelection, condemning the entire ordeal. On her campaign webpage and a State News guest column, she proclaims, “This policy was presented to the board as an informational item and not discussed in public session or voted on by the board.” Continuing, Foster “urge[s] President Lou Anna K. Simon and her senior administration… to rescind this policy.” To date fellow GOP colleagues – Brian Breslin and Mitch Lyons – and all five Democrat Trustees have not commented on the pressing matter.

Individual students ought to have the right to remain uninsured. Much like similar private services, health insurance is not a right, but rather, a privilege. On face the important distinction is evident.

That is not to say that the status quo situation is perfect. In fact, key reform measures are necessary. Namely, Congress ought to pass a law granting private insurers the ability to offer their services across state lines. This would yield a two-pronged outcome: increased options for consumers and lowered costs. Firms will have to think of innovative ways to compete for viability in the marketplace as the field of competitors expands. A broader market for any good or service tends to bring about a bevy of alternatives. Prices inevitably drop – in economic language, the equilibrium price will fall – due to heightened competition. Left unregulated by well-meaning yet harmful government policies, the free enterprise system functions marvelously.

Interestingly, aside from Barack Obama’s chances at a second term hanging in the balance, the looming decision by the U. S. Supreme Court with regards to the chief executive’s signature legislative achievement could shed light on the campus conundrum. The justices are in the process of deciding whether the national Constitution contains a clause that grants the federal government the authority to require citizens, and perhaps non-citizens, to purchase a service. I cannot fathom a reasonable defense of such an interpretation; however, at least on grounds of relevancy for taxpayer-funded entities, let us allow our highest court to make the call. MSU is partly financed by the taxpaying public, after all.

First and foremost as an institute of higher learning, academic matters – i.e. genuine inquiry and discovery within the realm of scholarship – ought to be the focus of the University administration. What message does an authoritarian-in-disguise barking orders from atop the proverbial ivory tower send to today’s budding world leaders? That the elite few know what is best for us? That we are incapable of making decisions on our own? One’s insurance options firmly belong to one – and no one else.

Show your support of individual liberty by composing an email letter to President Simon expressing the inherent detriments with Simon Care. Point out the financial flaws, noting that it is unjust to levy an additional (and absurd) tax on students solely because of their insurance preference – freedom for all, even those whom elect to remain uninsured, is an incredibly American premise. Send your messages to presmail@msu.edu. You are free to send written correspondence and make phone calls too. Fight for what is right.

Nicholas Kowalski | Michigan State University | @NKowalski