By Ashley O’Donnell, Guest Columnist

As someone who had cancer four years ago and will lose my health insurance in two months because I’m graduating, there’s a lot I fear when it comes to health insurance. President Obama’s speech on Friday only made that fear worse. He told the audience that he wants to add more choice and competition to the insurance market, but those are the very two things that will be taken away if his version of the bill gets passed.

This is why I was surprised when he said, “I don’t believe we should give government or the insurance companies more control over health care in America. I think it’s time to give you, the American people, more control over your health.” That statement is hypocritical, rhetorical “inaction.” The government already controls 49 percent of the health care market through Medicare and Medicaid, and they are going bankrupt, barely covering all the needs of those on these plans.

What few realize is that private insurance companies are already heavily regulated. According to the Cato Institute, “States also limit enrollees’ freedom to purchase only the coverage they wish.” A study conducted in 2007 by the Congressional Budget Office shows that this results in a 15 percent increase in premiums.

In other words, you should be allowed to choose the type of coverage you want. Under the current system, an 80-year-old woman has to pay for the same services as a 30-year-old woman. Given that their needs are different, why should something like maternal care be included in the 80-year-old’s package? If people could pick what services they want and only the ones they want, there would be a sharp drop in prices.

Similarly, as a consumer, you always want there to be a lot of companies offering a variety of different services. It’s called competition. It lowers prices. The only way to achieve universal coverage is to allow insurance companies to compete freely, without government intervention.

If they know that you can easily switch from one provider to the next, companies will fight for your business. Therefore, mandating health insurance is pandering to insurance companies because they know you have a small group to choose from.

President Obama said that if you are happy with your current plan, then you will be able to keep it. But what he failed to mention is that you will only be able to keep this plan if it complies with the standards imposed by your legislators. That important detail was one of the countless particulars missing from his speech. He knew his job was to inspire the youth and, thus, he left out the full truth.

I’m all for giving money to those in need — as long as that money will be maximized and not squandered on programs which have been proven to fail in this country and others. Contrary to what most politicians want you to think, more money isn’t the solution. Rather, it’s about the freedom to choose how you believe your resources will be spent most wisely.

Ashley O’Donnell is a global affairs major.