January 9, 2008

What’s ailing California’s healthcare system?
Essay contest open to high school juniors, seniors

California high school students are invited to share their thoughts on California’s health care reform efforts in a statewide essay contest sponsored by the LegiSchool Project, a civic education collaboration between Sacramento State’s Center for California Studies and the California legislature.

The contest, titled “Healthcare in California: Is There a Cure?” is open to California 11th and 12th grade students. The 10 winning essay writers will receive round-trip travel to Sacramento to take part in a day-long student legislative summit on Thursday, April 3. Students will participate in a student-run press conference at the state Capitol with members of the legislature and other policymakers. Students will also receive a VIP tour of the Capitol and take part in a roundtable meeting with members of the Capitol Press Corps and legislative staff, and receive a complimentary lunch at the Capitol.

The contest topic was prompted by reports that despite an estimated $186 billion spent on health care in California last year, one in five residents is still without health care coverage—and one million of those residents are children. More than 75 percent of the uninsured in California are members of working families who have been rejected for coverage or are not offered coverage through their workplace. 

Students should address the following topics: Is this a problem that needs an immediate solution? Should California offer healthcare coverage to everyone in the state? Several plans are currently being considered by the legislature and the Governor to reform healthcare in California, but which one has the capacity to have the best long term success?

The series of questions regarding specific healthcare reform proposals can be found at www.csus.edu/legischool/essay.  Essays must be 750 words or less, typed and double spaced. Students should include a cover sheet with their name, home address, phone number and e-mail, the name and address of their school, and the name of the teacher who distributed the announcement about the essay contest.  Entries must be postmarked by Friday, Jan. 28, and submitted to: California State University, Sacramento; Center for California Studies, LegiSchool Project; 6000 J Street; Sacramento, CA 95819-6081.

For complete guidelines, visit www.csus.edu/legischool/essay or call the Center for California Studies’ LegiSchool at (916) 278-6906.