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How will US healthcare reform affect you?

14:08 UK time, Sunday, 21 March 2010

The US House of Representatives has narrowly voted to pass a landmark healthcare reform bill. Will you benefit from the reforms?

The bill extends coverage to 32 million more Americans, and marks the biggest change to the US healthcare system in decades. It passed by 219 votes to 212, with no Republican backing.

The Republicans say the measures are unaffordable and represent a government takeover of the health industry. To secure enough support from Democrats, Mr Obama had to give last minute assurances that the bill will not allow federal money for abortion.

What is your reaction to the result? Will you benefit from the healthcare reforms? Do you agree with the Republicans that the bill is unaffordable? Or do you think the reforms should go further?

Q&A: US healthcare reform

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Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    The Post Office, Amtrak, Social Security, Fannie and Freddie... all clear examples of government ineptitude/inability/failure to be able to run ANYTHING profitably, correctly, ethically, legitimately, or to the benefit of the country. It's like they looked at an old Trabant and said "Hey, let's take over Ford and GM and force them to build these!"

    Having served in the military, I am fiercely proud of my country... but have no faith that the gov't can do 'big and complex' better than the free market. Regulate, yes... mandate and run? God help us, these Marxist leaders have one goal:
    USA => USSA => USSR => gov't-run-everything

    Thank God the 2nd Amendment still exists!

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    I believe that a "single-payer" system would have made much more sense, and would have effectively controlled costs.
    I doubt very much that anybody understands completely the bill that soon will pass. As a senior, I worry what the bill will do to medicare. One thing for sure, widespread confusion will be the first result when this bill becomes law.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes of course I support Health Care reforms. It's disgraceful that millions of Americans cannot afford health insurance.

  • Comment number 5.

    To silverrunning.
    Perhaps you are admitting your own incompetance is the US military not government run? There have certainly plenty of friendly fire from the US, to prove your point.

    Our government both tories and Labour are far from competant, or trustworthy, however, our NHS by and large is better that the system in the US and is more cost effective.

  • Comment number 6.

    @silverrunning

    Sry but i totally disagree with you.

    As a Brit i have served too for many years-BUT is it right that an uncontrolled market delivering health care FOR PROFIT is ensuring that kids with an Abcess DIE becuase they can´t afford health care?

    USSR disappeaered 20 yrs ago and with it Soviet communisium.

    Its a discrace that 45 million people in the RICHEST country of the world can´t be treated at the doctor because they cant afford it?

    Is it right that health insures are making billions of dollars while children are dying in the usa

    The only way to go IS govt. health insurance.

    The NHS is not perfect but my god you won´t die of an abcess in the UK and for that matter nowhere in Europe because you can´t afford your permiums..

  • Comment number 7.

    As it stands right now before the vote, insurance companies use various tactics not to provide contracted coverage. If you get cancer, you MUST get a lawyer and sue. This happened to me. They would rather one die than to have to pay for surgery, chemo, etc. High ticket procedures, such as bone marrow or other transplants, are denied as being "experimental," despite the established nature of the procedure. They merely lobby Congress to have it so labeled, enabling them to deny it. They often put off procedures in lengthy reviews in hopes that it will be too late by the time they acquiesce. If you or I did that to someone, it would be murder, but it's legal for them.

    Misinformation is being hurled by the opposition: death panels (end of life decisions between you and your doctor), and every argument that was previously applied to the vote on social security or medicare. None of the dire predictions have come to pass. NONE.

    For those ignorant people who live in fear of every change, facism is the far right. Communism is the far left. Those that decry health care reform as facism are incorrect. Nearly all the EU countries, and Canada, have such care. They're not facist states, nor communist ones. It's time for universal health care!

  • Comment number 8.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 9.

    The core problem of the medical industry is the price-fixing of medicines.
    If medicine was affordable, insurance wouldn't need to be compulsory.

    Of course, pharmaceutical companies are still businesses and aren't interested in helping anyone. They found a gap in a market and decided to fill it.

    Medicine paid for by taxes, will just increase in price on a runaway scale. It is the greed of pharmaceutical companies will eventually need to be tackled.

  • Comment number 10.

    My parents worked themselves nearly to death at 2 and sometimes 3 jobs while I was growing up. None of those employers ever provided health benefits and despite working so much we still could not afford insurance. I first visited a dentist when I was 22 and a doctor when I was 25. My parents later lost their home when they became ill and hospitalized. I don't think this legislation is as good as it could be, but I do think it is a first step in the direction of human decency. Given how much the US government already spend on healthcare, I also think it's likely to decrease federal spending despite what right wing hate- and fearmongers would have us believe.

  • Comment number 11.

    If the healthcare bill does not pass, the House will display its worst example of cynicism in decades. It is a pity that the Representatives who vote against it will never be in a position where they will need free health care themselves. I would hope they would be denied it or any other form of charity that would cure their illness.

  • Comment number 12.

    About time too! Supposedly a major player with millions unable to get basic healthcare. Land of the free my......

  • Comment number 13.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 14.

    As a Canadian and an observer of events south of the border. I hope that the ordinary "joe" in the U.S. can receive a genuine level of healthcare. I have read of too many ordinary Americans that lose everything they own, when hit by an illness in their family. People in the U.K. have little idea of how many millions in the U.S. are not able to access healthcare. For those posters here that feel that Govt. should stay out of this type of business? If the U.S. Govt. seems perfectly capable of waging war and killing. Why not saving lives? There are many in Canada, who feel that this country should adopt a US system. This would be a catastrophe for the ordinary working stiff. The answer to the question here? Might be answered by the thousands of middle class reduced to living in their cars in California? They're still there.

  • Comment number 15.

    The Democrats led by Barack Obama and San Francisco lunatic Nancy Pelosi are taking America on a Suicide Mission.
    Already trillions of dollars in dept in a deep recession caused by Democrats blocking our efforts to produce our own energy, combined with the banking crisis Democrats created by forcing banks to make loans to high risk individuals.
    Now they wanto lead us into a Socialist healthcare system starting with a multi hundred billion dollar tax increase.
    If it passes watch the crash on Wall Street Monday morning as the rich cash in thier chips one step ahead of this massive tax increase.
    A National Suicide Mission led by Democrats with no Republicaan support and very little support from the American people.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    NO I do not support the US healthcare reforms Obama/Pelosi/Read are proposing. Firstly they are ramming them through in an entirely unconstitutional manner bending the rules to suit themselves when it is clear that the majority of the US population do not want this bill-even Massachusetts voted for a Republican on the strength of it.This bill will not set up anything like an NHS that most posters here fondly believe.It is riddled with special interest exceptions to gain congressional votes so it is not fair at all.It will only reduce the Americans without healthcare by a third and for that the government will take over a sixth of the US economy,force young people to buy expensive health insurance they neither want nor need on pain of fines or prison and greatly reduce the Medicare budget, which is the healthcare plan for old people, those who most need it. It is a bad law being brought in for the wrong motives in the wrong way and needs to be repealed at the earliest opportunity.

  • Comment number 18.

    Having lived under both the NHS and the American system I can tell you that the American system in by far better. The system automatically covers the "poor" and the elderly. No one is denied emergency heathcare.
    Monthly insurance premiums to buy insurance are actually much less than the percentage I would be required to pay out of my paycheck under the NHS. Of the reported millions who do not have coverage, the vast majority are not US citizens, or even in the country legally. Then there are those who claim they can't afford insurance but somehow afford a new car payment, cell phone, eating out, cable TV, etc. It's a matter of priorities. Then we come to the remainder of those without insurance who have been laid off, or who have pre-existing medical conditions that prevent them from getting insurance. This is the only group that I consider needing help. Minor reform would help this group. Instead, the proposal is to destroy the system that works well for the majority of people, forcing us to pay the government now for a substandard service that will not be available for 4 years away. The system is not broken and certainly does not need to inefficient government to break it. They run nothing efficiently! Right now medical care is speedy, and you have choices, many, many choices to ensure you get treated properly. I don't expect to ever wait more than a week for anything I need be it a visit to the doctor or open heart surgery. With the goverment red tape, I expect that to change to months and months, sometimes being denied the treatment I need.
    It should be noted that the lawmakers will not be forced to take the same plan as the people. Bottom line, the goverment needs to stay out to the lives of the people and let the free enterprise system work. The government has never fixed anything!

  • Comment number 19.

    From what I understand American's are afraid of big government, so even if their government tried to do something good for them they'd still campaign against it.

    In the UK on the other hand it's the other way around and we don't like big business, therefore most people would think that any private health company would be out to maximise profits instead of providing service.

  • Comment number 20.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 21.

    I think people opposed to health care reform haven't lived without health insurance. During the downturn of the economy I found myself in a bad place without a job. I was really lucky I still had COBRA insurance from my previous employer, I had to go the the emergency room once and on another occasion I was sick enough to need antibiotics. I don't even know if I owe the insurance people money, but if I do, it's going to be money I don't have. If this bill will make it easier for everyone to have health insurance I'm all for it.
    It's about time the government stepped in with health insurance companies. Maybe their customer service will be reformed as well.

  • Comment number 22.

    The United States, as a nation, spends 16% of it's wealth on healthcare yet it has a lower average life expectancy and higher infant mortality rate than the UK which spends 8%. Other European countries do even better. To an outsider the US sentiment of "the sick and the poor only got that way through being lazy good for nothings, so throw them to the wolves" is incomprehensible. Why isn't your military a private army employed by insurance companies that only protects people who pay them? It's really odd that Americans have such a strong committment to collective defense but decry collective healthcare as "communism". Your insurance companies are bleeding you dry in a system where money, not need, is the deciding factor on whether you get decent care.

  • Comment number 23.

    I absolutely do!

    I find it sad that Americans don't already have what every other advanced country benefits from.

    The keen opposition is from the christian right, which is also very sad. Surely if there's one message Jesus taught, it's lov thy neighbour?

  • Comment number 24.

    @Sick-Pup,
    Health care in the US is down because of "anything goes for the insurance companies" policies. Everybody who thinks that people who are sick and/or have preexisting conditions may be discriminated is wrong. The meaning of "Communism" can be easily checked out on Wikippedia. Go for it! Besides, the financial crash of 2008 became possible by continuous financial deregulation, initiated and completed by Republican presidents, history doesn't change by lying about it.

  • Comment number 25.

    I do support US Healthcare reforms. I think it is long overdue. The larger society needs to be covered - not just to the ones who are capable. The nexus of Drug companies / Legislators / Insurers needs to be overhauled. This is something like the Banking Industry nexus with their crowd to maintain the status quo.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    Healthcare should be supplied by the government. These healthcare crooks have no place in government.

    The success of this bill, will shut up fearful conservative wimps who have lead this country down tube. Their selfish idealogy of DRILL BABY DRILL, THE BEST HEATHCARE IN THE WORLD, GOD LOVES EVERYONE EQUALLY.

    This dumb, biggest bunch of hippocrits wear cross that says my god is bester than your god. They are a fearful bunch because they are afraid of CHANGE, they have one arm around their god and in the other hold sword of mercy that clobbers anyone who disagrees with them

    Inequalities caused by healthcare, a system to pay for itself, proper screening, not losing ones home by physical setbacks due to lack of insurance. Just to name a few +'ss

    The mental and spiritual health of the country will be improved when this passes.

    My fears will disappear as i get older, then maybe take care of the bigger picture... this earth we share and need.

  • Comment number 28.

    "Monthly insurance premiums to buy insurance are actually much less than the percentage I would be required to pay out of my paycheck under the NHS."

    Firstly, the numbers don't agree with you: by all reasonable measures, healthcare costs Americans a lot more than it does the British. Secondly, if you had the misfortune to be born with a disability or congenital illness, developed a chronic illness in your lifetime or even if genetic tests showed a higher risk of perhaps cancer or heart disease then your premiums would be much, much higher. That is assuming you could get insurance at all. You might also face legal battles with the insurance company as to what you are and are not insured against, and what treatments they would pay for.

  • Comment number 29.

    I thought we had already discussed this subject to death at an earlier date.
    I too have live in USA and while it is reported that the poor have no Health Care this is just not so.
    Having said that I still preferred our system until NuLabour got its hands on it.

  • Comment number 30.

    Although this bill may not satisfy everyone, it is a step in the right direction. I am curious as to how many of the people opposed to the bill especially Congressmen or Senaors are willing to give up their excellent health care provided as a perk only to the federal employees. Some are concerned about Amtrak which is indeed a bad example of how things ought to run. However, there are a number of agencies run by the government that are run well including CDC, National Parks, NIH etc.

  • Comment number 31.

    I am a retiree who absolutely supports health care reform, although I believe immediate action on most of the reforms would have been much better and am a FIRM believer in the public option as are most other Americans. Republicans have been nothing more than obstructionists throughout the whole process for no other reason than pouting. Hopefully, their intractability will show brightly in the next elections.

  • Comment number 32.

    I do not call forcing the self-employed, underemployed and people working for small businesses to purchase private health insurance "health care reform." There will be a huge political backlash when these folks start receiving those 500 dollar a month insurance premium bills. The insurance companies' "opposition" to this "reform" is cynical, since they and the huge hospital conglomerates will be the winners. The sort of plan I would have expected from a strong Democrat in the White House would have been to expand Medicare to include lower age groups, perhaps on a 70/30 basis (rather than 80/20, which applies to the elderly). Insurance companies could have still made money by insuring people who wanted to be covered for the uncovered 30%, or for the things that Medicare does not cover (and there are many of them).

  • Comment number 33.

    You Euros really need to stop reading the Leftist propaganda your media puts out trying to convince you that your socialist system is so great compared to ours because it is not.
    No One (repeat) No One goes with out health care in America from the richest politician to the poorest vagabond our hospitals by law treat everyone with better more comprehensive care than your nations best care.
    Insurance companies are owned by the American people their stocks back up private investors, retirement plans, union pension funds, college endowments, and more.
    While I admire Insurance companies for the good they do and the profit they make, everything the government touches is full of inefficiencies and corruption including the Union pay offs the Democrat party. Every single thing our government has mucked with from welfare scocail security medicare to the post office is bankrupt.
    Our Pharmaceutical industry is the world leader for the expensive development of new drugs, we as Americans pay more for our drugs knowing our company’s research and development is benefiting the world. Our medicine patents and Nobel medicine prizes far out do the rest of the world combined. Thse companies also provide free drugs for our poor.
    We know Obama's goal is to turn us into the same type of State controlled Socialist hell-hole as you live in but we will not let him.
    For those of you who still dream of Freedom, Liberty, Private Property, Capitalism, and the pursuit of excellence stand with the American people who oppose this Socialist takeove now as we are the last bastion of hope left in the world, pray for us.

  • Comment number 34.

    Hospitals are a necessary service, that are for the good of the people. They are like the police force, firefighters, and military. They do what they do to serve state and people, to protect the rights and well-being of the citizens. You should not demand protection money before helping a person, like some mafioso.

    It is sad that so many Americans have this cold-war vision of universal health care. If you are truly afraid of some communist conspiracy, take a look at Canada's system. Hospitals are privately owned, and everything is handled from outside the government. What the government does is pay most of the hospital costs, so we get most things after just showing a card. We pay less in taxes for the health care than we would through private insurance and non-covered expenses. And doctors have big houses and fancy cars.

    People go on and on about high Canadian taxes, which are, for the majority of citizens, less than 5% higher. As well, average costs for all other forms of insurance and things like housing and food are cheaper. According to studies, while the US has a higher per-capita spending power, the reality is that the less wealthy half of Americans has significantly less spending money than the same demographic in Canada.

    Government involvement, taxation, and cost of living is not as simple as many seem to believe. So try to do your own research before believing the scare tactics.

  • Comment number 35.

    Why are Europeans so keen to save the Americans?
    We have universal health care and "socialism". They've got to pay through the nose for a check-up. Good. They won't compete. Let them rot in their own greedy juices and the Euro will triumph.
    It's actually good that American have to shell out to their overpaid doctors to bring their all-consuming spawn into the world. What would happen if their grease-and-oil guzzling offspring were free of charge?
    No government-sponsored health care for the Yanks!
    Now if we could just get rid of the socialism for the military there...(re number 1's comment). They might use their second amendment on themselves and save the taxpayers some money.

  • Comment number 36.

    I have cancer, I got it at 25 years old, I'm now 33. Not to go to deep into it but I've had 2 serious back surgeries removing tumors along with 6 weeks of intense radiation; 5 days a week. I'm in remission and have been leading a normal healthy life for 3 years now. I had one of the very best doctors. If i was on gov't health insurance I may be dead. I've had over $500,000 in medical bills, however I've only had to pay my monthly premiums and co-pays. IF i had gov't insurance do you think it would be covered? I dont, I think I would either be poor the rest of my life or dead.

    Reform needs to be accomplished, this reform, needs the trash can. Giving every American gov't health insurance is not a good thing. The care will be substandard to what we pay for now. So as a business owner I am removing the heath care from all of my employees benefits so I can save money. Meanwhile across the USA companies everywhere are doing the same thing. So you either pay extreme high prices for health care or be put on the gov't health care that WILL be substandard with no competition between doctors to do better... how is this a good thing? It will take away the "middle class" of health care. I work very hard for my money and yes premiums are high, I would love to pay less, but the benefits are great!



    COMMENTS?

  • Comment number 37.

    My Mother works for a company based in Canada but has branches in the United States and Europe. In order to cut down on costs the company labels most of their workers in the United States "part-time" to avoid giving them full health care coverage. I have to admit most of these people are seasonal, however many of these workers work long hours and will end up working for the company for decades. Even for the most senior workers, the company will never provide the types of benefits even the most unproductive Canadian and European citizens are entitled too. If the bill will really help these people, I sure hope it passes.

  • Comment number 38.

    What does government sponsored health care mean? It means that the public will pick up the tab to sponsor an additional 30-45 million uncovered Americans; this will come in addition to the large number of "Baby Boomers" who are entering their senior years and who will soon be moving over to Medicare as their primary insurance. So this debate needs to incorporate those already on Medicare and Medicaid along with those who in a few years will be moving into these programs. About 96 million Americans are already enrolled in these programs add to this 30 million and you get 126 million. Even if we assume that we have a 1 to 1 ratio of people dying and entering these programs' coverage we're talking about extending government funded health care to about 42% of Americans, versus the 32% now covered (and if it's actually 45 million who need to be covered the percentage goes up to 47%).

    Now, all of these people won't need massive health care access at the same time, unless they all suffer simultaneous heart attacks or something, but if these people are already unable to afford their own health care then it would stand to reason that the amount of money they pay into the system to cover themselves is going to be rather low. So this leaves the remaining 68% of Americans to pick up the bill in a country where, typically, most of the population can barely makes ends meet. In spite of repeated assurances that this bill will alleviate the health care system and help reduce America's public debt I have yet to hear a convincing argument about how this is going to happen. Saying that "this will create jobs" doesn't amount to the program actually creating jobs, specifics need to be provided because these things don't just work themselves out.

    Also, if the government provides a public option, health care companies will be forced to compete with the new government rates meaning that they are going to have to cut costs in order to offer similar coverage. That means one of two things, either the benefits we currently have are going to deteriorate and the consumer will be stuck with more personal responsibility or companies will have to do layoffs to maintain their profit margins. I know the argument that's going to come down on me, that these companies should accept a smaller profit because they should just be helping people selflessly, but under our current economic system this is impractical. Capitalism assumes that you will provide a service to people for two reasons: because you see a need and because it meets your self interest. If we remove self interest as an economic factor then people no longer have a reason to help others because they can no longer help themselves. People do not make investments of any sort if they don't expect some sort of visible return. Parents do not send children to school expecting, after 13 years from K to 12, for that child to be as dumb as the day they started school.

    The other downside to a government run program is that, just like private health care companies, the government will have to make cost effectiveness decisions (which they already do with Medicaid and Medicare). So at some point they will have to say "we will only provide $X for said treatment. Now, of course, said amounts may be petitioned but will the government's pockets be as big as the pockets of our current "evil corporations"? In theory it's possible, but as the "Boomers" age and a disproportionate amount of our population qualifies for Medicare at some point the system will be strained and the government will either have to find another source of revenue, cut into other areas of the budget, or they'll have to decide when it just doesn't make sense to offer medical care to a person anymore.

    As much as people bash our current system it is not that bad. Does it need reform, certainly! Does the government need to regulate health care premiums so that the consumer cost doesn't skyrocket, probably. Do we need a government option in a country where, traditionally, resourceful people have found solutions to a wide variety of problems in America's history, no. Once something becomes the government's responsibility people become apathetic to it. Instead of changing our lifestyles and reducing our personal waste we expect new standards and legislation. Instead of boycotting ineffective and wasteful corporations we expect them to be taxed and fined until they change. In the face of economic woe we expect to be bailed out, two times in one year, and withdraw large amounts of money from various areas of the private sector and then wonder why things aren't getting better.

    America has traditionally been built upon self interest. Our forefathers came here looking for economic and religious freedom, a form of self interest. We separated from Britain because we refused to be governed without representation, self interest. We developed a large infrastructure through the 19 and 20 century to advance our commerce. Though the government stimulated all of these things they never did it for us, what will happen now when we are not willing to help ourselves? We cannot be children always begging for the milk of the government; we are adults, fully capable of caring for ourselves as communities and states of Americans.

  • Comment number 39.

    american ppl dont want this? funny coz every american ive spoke to do as a brit living in the usa i a gree with this free health care everyone should have the choice to use it if you dont want it dont use is it carry on paying your healthcare provider but let the ppl who cant afford insurance have the chance to be treated like i said dont want it dont use it

  • Comment number 40.

    YES!

  • Comment number 41.

    Its a shame for the Great US of A. the riches country and self
    pronounced Leader of the free World,whats the number?more than 40millon?
    Something like that,can not afford a prober Health-insurence.They need a reform badly.one can only hope that it will be one which meets what the
    people need and will pass with not too many cuts off here and there.

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm a little frustrated with all this political rhetoric. How can any sensible person make a decision on this health care bill when nobody knows what it contains? It keeps changing all the time. Any Congressman/woman who tells you they've read and understand this bill is stretching truth to the limits.

    Every time I think I've read the whole thing, I go back and find parts missing or extra parts added. Much of it makes no sense at all, but then I'm not a doctor or a bureaucrat, and I fail to see how so much of the other white meat is good for my health. Every time I hear somebody say we're going to save money by spending a Trillion Dollars, my wallet has an epileptic fit and my level of fear goes sky-high.

    In spite of my reservations, I know we need to control costs and provide affordable health care to everyone. Is this particular health care bill the way to do it? How should I know!

  • Comment number 43.

    OK, has noone looked at how other countries other than the US are doing this? Most developed nations do have Government run healthcare and it works! As a Canadian I love that if I get hurt I can go into anyhostpital in the country and be treated for free. I believe this is the same in France and the UK. If it works great in these countries why wouldn't the US go for this.

  • Comment number 44.

    The USA needs health care. The medical establishment largely is in favor of reform, the insurance companies are not. What's wrong with this picture?

  • Comment number 45.

    We certainly need to do something about our abysmal for-profit system where 40mm people have no health insurance. And I'm one. I'm fully employed yet would pay a ton of money to get insurance because I'm an individual and can't join a group plan which would give me some price break.

    We spend substantially more than any other country on HC but have worse results.

    I don't like this bill (it's too much of a bailout to insurance and drug companies) but we really have to get started on reform so doing nothing is not an option.

  • Comment number 46.

    I support the bill. It's seriously flawed, but that's to be expected. It's a pity health care reform (and everything else!) has become so insanely partisan. The bill helps with equity, but the biggest problem with healthcare is cost. Many reasons for it...doctors are overpaid, patients expect miracles, and people fail to take care of their own health. The US is the only country where death is considered optional.

  • Comment number 47.

    Healthcare reform is long overdue. American people want it. Thank you President Obama.

  • Comment number 48.

    From listening and reading the proposed US health care provisions I doubt many people would wish this not to be brought in if it were just a simple case of health care reform so that all people could get health care but it seems that Obama has surrounded himself with extreme left wing supporters who are not content with just changing the US health care reform.
    It seems that these left wingers, brought in by Obama are undertaking and attempting a root and branch alteration of the USA Constitution and that should never be allowed if the aims of this are camouflaged around Health Care Reforms.
    Obama is not being honest with the US people regarding the aims of the 2000 pages of the Bill. I feel this is going to change the Constitution of the USA forever and I can see why so many US citizens are angry about the proposal.

  • Comment number 49.

    I think that guaranteed issue (acceptance regardless of pre-existing conditions) is essential. Given that, the individual mandate is essential to keeping insurance affordable. I even grudgingly agree that some form of community rating is needed to keep higher-risk subscribers from being priced out of the market. If this were all there were in the current bill, I'd be a big supporter of it.

    But the bill also does the following:

    1. It transfers a huge amount of wealth from the poorest Americans--the young--to the richest Americans--the old. (Median net worth for Americans 65-75 is $190K, and $59K for those 35-45.) The bill's current community rating language restricts the difference between what the young and old pay in premiums to an amount that promotes inter-generational theft on a grand scale.

    2. It is the mother of all unfunded mandates to the states, via the increased Medicaid burdens.

    3. It assumes that insurance is the problem, rather than health care. I fear that the ultimate result of that will be to make the non-exchange insurance markets increasingly unaffordable, forcing more employers to dump their employees into the exchange markets.

    4. By pushing more people into the exchange markets and more people into Medicaid, the bill sets the table for government-mandated price controls. This always ends with shortages.

    5. We have added yet another huge and substantially underfunded entitlement (cf. 10 years of taxation for 6 years of benefits, fantasy Medicare cuts, the doc fix, etc.), which further increases the size and power of government and further degrades the fiscal stability of the United States. (Maybe this is good news; the sooner the inevitable crisis occurs, the more likely it is that the US will make the reforms necessary to ensure long-term stability, with as little international uproar as possible.)

    6. It increases the insulation of the individual from exposure to the real cost of his or her health care, rather than increasing that exposure to the point where real market forces can go to work.

    7. The bill is so complex that it will hard to figure out what the unintended consequences are, much less how to fix them.

    For these reasons, I can't support the bill.

  • Comment number 50.

    The NHS is imperfect. That is true but according to the US media people are dying left right and centre because of it. This is not true. I live in Spain where there are Americans with duel nationality who cannot afford Healthcare so cannot afford to go back because of reasonably regular conditions like Diabetes. People in Europe do not go bankrupt because they are ill. Actually it's a pretty good place to live. The US is too if you have money. The problem is that American's are some of the most generous people you could meet on a one on one basis but it seems that some parts of the population have a complete inability to empathise with the faceless masses. This is deeply worrying. The US holds itself up as a path to freedom yet fails it weakest, and blames them for being weak. Yes I have lived in the States and yes opinion there troubled me. I hope it passes today. It is not the best bits of legislation but at least it is a start.

  • Comment number 51.

    please stop throwing around terms like "marxism". whatever obama may be doing, it does not contribute to a mature debate by inventing apocalyptic political theories.

    obama is clearly not a marxist, and if you think he is please go and read a book on marxism.

    it is also clear that something needs to be done about the US healthcare system, with so many millions without cover and costs much higher than in comparable countries. simply doing nothing is not an option, so come up with a better solution dont just throw around insults.

  • Comment number 52.

    The United States is Bankrupt, how can this work. Why was not real laws with teeth put on the Healthcare companies(like preexisting conditions). The wars started by the Neo-Conservatives(Non-Conservative Republicans) and their laxed financial regulations has tanked this countries economy. I believe all Americans should have some form of healthcare, the question is something better than nothing. My answer is I do not know.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think we should have it set up for those that don't have insurance in the US, that we bring doctors from Europe to do the medical work. I think it's a great way for Europe to pay for their own way at the UN instead of American taxpayers doing it and it's a great way to get free medical care for us without draining our economy!

  • Comment number 54.

    I think this is a matter solely for the citizens and politicians of the U.S. to decide,obviously most of those currently unable to access free medical care would welcome reforms in a country whic prioritises defence, unwinnable wars, and space programmes over the needs of its own people but I suspect any such reforms will be minimum at best.'Only in America' eh!!

  • Comment number 55.

    Waste of time te poeple who deserve it will never see it yet another money making process Gordon please note

  • Comment number 56.

    Will Obama bail out the insurance companies once they become bankrupt? Or are there "evil" large private too-big-to-fail corporations that don't deserve bail-outs as well as "good" large private too-big-to-fail corporations that do deserve bail-outs? They both have employees that get up in the morning and work hard.
    Dude, what a *** mess! My big question though is when does the government-rationed vodka supplement start?

  • Comment number 57.

    I was born a few days before the NHS came into being, my parents received a large bill for the medical care my arrival necessitated. Since the NHS the bills have been minimal, paid for by a relatively small Tax included in other taxes.
    The US seems wedded to the idea of private Insurance companies providing all their needs. My experience of this idea just confirms me in my dislike and distrust of any 'For Profit' organisation being involved in Healthcare. As a fit and healthy man aged mid thirties I was eligible for the Union sponsored 'Private' Health insurance they had negotiated. The terms were quite reasonable, only about the same as I was already paying in Tax for NHS cover. After the scheme had been running for a year the premiums suddenly doubled and the cover was cut, all pre-existing illnesses were excluded, and most of the 'choices' were removed. Reading the small print it was obvious that the scheme was simply a money making idea for an Insurance Company.
    I feel sorry for the people of the USA, they have 'Freedom' without restraint. They are free do die of simple illnesses, they are free to die of poverty. Freedom without real choice is not freedom it is serfdom, serfdom to the Multi-billion Insurance Companies, serfdom to the Profit making Medical Professionals and serfdom to the Chemical Companies.
    It is not Fascism or Communism that led to the NHS, or come to that parallel systems in Europe, it was simple common decency and respect for the fellow man.
    I don't actually care what system of Healthcare the USA adopts, I do know that any country that does not look after its poor and helpless cannot be considered Great.

  • Comment number 58.

    I dont know if I support the proposed changes to US health care or not as I dont understand them.But I would be grateful if someone from the US could tell me what would have happened there in my case and then I can decide.
    I'm 63 semi retired and not old enough to draw state pension so I have a small private pension and a little part time job and cannot afford private health cover.
    About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with Leukaemia, the prognosis at the time was 6 months to 10 years the median being 4.5 years.
    A new drug was developed with which I am now being treated at a cost I am told of £18K pa and the disease is very well controlled.
    About 2 years ago I had a heart attack and subsequent cardiac arrest.
    I was taken to hospital ,treated by stenting,within 2 hours,underwent cardiac rehab and am now back at work but on medication for which I do not pay and also undergo annual monitoring.
    Now my question to anyone from the US.
    Would I have got this treatment as I was working when diagnosed with leukaemia but was subsequently made redundant and was below the state pension age when I had the heart attack.
    A simple question would I be dead or alive in the US as I could not afford either insurance or private fees?

  • Comment number 59.

    I would support a bill if the very people that advocate for is (House, Congress & President) and their families were required by law to have this and no more for the remainder of their lives. Why is it that when this issue was debated it got voted down? Do the politicians really deserve better than what they think is good for us? The only way to improve anything, education, health care, etc is that we must demand that if you take on government office, you must be obliged to the same as your constituents.

  • Comment number 60.

    I am a Brit who has lived in America for most of my life, and I am a supporter of the bill. The health insurance system is the US is absurd. As many people on this site have mentioned, all hospitals are required by law to treat anyone no matter how rich or poor. However they also have the right to charge what they please, which in turn prevents people from seeking treatment as they know they can not afford to foot the bill.

    Any of the people who are protesting this bill ought to try living without health insurance like I have for the last 3 years…I guarantee they’ll change their minds really quickly.

  • Comment number 61.

    Its go nothing to do with us Brits, only Americans can and should decide about their own health care policies.

    We have enough issues to deal with in this country.

  • Comment number 62.

    The healthcare industry has up to now been run like a crime syndicate not subject to any laws whatsoever and excluded from anti-trust regulation. Al Capone and his mob would have been envious of the insurance companies profits and probably been Republicans. The Mafia, the Cosa Nostra, the Comora, the Drug Cartel are amateurs compared with the extortion the insurance companies have been getting away with on the American people. The time has come to end the outlaw practices of this thieving viper's nest of capitalist hoodlums who hold the American peolpe hostage. The current bill does not go far enough, but for now it will have to do. Hopefully before Obama leaves office a public option with a single payer system will be added and become law. Then the insurance companies will become useless dinosaurs as they deserve to be. There is no need for private middlemen who enrich themseleves at the taxpayer's expense. Anyone who does not see this is mentally blind without a mind of their own like the moronic Tea Partiers and bovine-brained numbskulls like Sarah Palin.

  • Comment number 63.

    We spend 8% of GDP here in the UK on the NHS, while the Americans spend 16% GDP on their healthcare for the elderly and on medicare/medi aid or whatever it's called. Yet, we have a better health care system according to the WHO, we have a longer life expectancy and we get all this with universal health care free at the point of use while the Americans have to pay for their own personal insurance and those who can't are crippled financially for the rest of the lives if they have the cheek to get in a car accident or develop an illness.

    Something is fundamentally wrong with healthcare in the U.S if they spend a hell of alot more of public money and still have to stump up money for insurance and get worse treatment with it.

    I hope this bill is a step in the right direction for the U.S. and they get past their fear of "Socialism" and move towards providing free health care for any and all that need it. In country as rich as the USA people should not have to worry about healthcare.

  • Comment number 64.

    Not really. I support going after the drug companies to lower prescription prices. I also support limiting medical malpractice lawsuits in an effort to lower healthcare costs.

    What I don't support is healthy Americans paying for the bad habits of unhealthy Americans, such as smokers, obese folks, and drinkers who crash their cars and hurt others.

    Also, I am pro-choice, but I don't think I should have to pay for abortions if I don't want to, and that pro-choice should go both ways, including who pays for it. If religious people want the choice not to pay, then they shouldn't.

    A final thought: why doesn't the Government just give us all checks to pay Blue Cross premiums?

  • Comment number 65.

    Its an interesting one to watch from the outside.

    The US despite its wealth, ranks poorly in many measures of health provision.

    So the current system doesn't work for many of its people.

    ...but vested interests feel they have a lot to lose if the status quo in the health care industry is undermined, so they're calling in all the markers and spending a fortune in a campaign, including disinformation, to protect their position.

    Sure government is poor at running things and wasteful, but businesses motivation is profit; isn't it an indictment of a society when health outcomes are so flawed for so many.
    Should such a need as health be left to the market and continie to exclude many?

  • Comment number 66.

    Does anyone have time to record the "for" and "against" on this blog. BBC continue to not use simple web technology to record either polls or recommend buttons to register public opinion.
    As concerned individuals we can try to inform ourselves and go around these efforts to stifle informed debate. I've placed polls on blogs when I have time; perhaps users can do likewise and for example put the word "poll" on these pages so that we can quickly find and get feedback on opinion.
    With the UK elections coming up this would be an invaluable tool for concerned citizens. Other suggestions welcome.

  • Comment number 67.

    I for one am in support for the reform for without it it shall utterly collapse and then when and where will one get medical help? Besides we just had an Election and this was Obama's main theme and most people again agreed and voted for change so Americans wake up and smell the formaldehyde before it is too late. I am Permanently disabled but I live in Europe but I had to opt-out of my Medicare because it is not of any use for me while living abroad. I spent 10 years waiting for some type of resolution for Americans living abroad but to no avail so I decided to drop it. I have health coverage where I live and I will tell you that my coverage gives me more than my counterpart did and it is extremely cheaper at that. Even when I was living in the States I still could not get medical help because Medicaid/Medicare stated that the test/s I needed was not covered but I had to have this done or my health would deteriorate. Now that sounds scary to a person living with a limited income.

    The health reform was needed ages ago and this is enough of money hungry thieves stealing our monies just so that we cannot have health insurance.

  • Comment number 68.

    Most Americans agree that a degree of health care reform is necessary. However, the legislation as proposed is opposed by the majority of Americans. I believe starting over would be the best course of action. That would not need to be viewed as a defeat for the president, but rather a wise decision by Obama.

  • Comment number 69.

    It frightens me to see how many Americans are abysmally ignorant about anything outside their country so they believe all the blatant lies pushed at them by Republicans, the medical and drug industries and the insurance companies. I grew up under the British system and have lived in Canada. Both systems are infinitely better than what we have which is an international disgrace. Obama's bill is not what really is needed but it is the thin end of the wedge eventually to get profit out of it and to give all Americans a civilised health system. To those who say we can't afford it, I ask why is it then that all other countries have far superior systems at near half the cost or less?
    Peter D South Carolina.

  • Comment number 70.

    Will the Democrats please just bite the bullet and say that, yes, there will be taxes that will need to be created to pay for these reforms? I really hate it how Congress approves any number of measures, and yet always forgets to state where the money will come from. This happens with environmental bills, with land reform, with defense, with all sort of things. Where does the money come from?

    These reforms also need to do something about Medicaid and Medicare. It is absolutely ridiculous that there will be potentially three different healthcare systems in place, all rife with corruption and abuse, and all costing an arm and a leg. Unify them so that there is one healthcare system that accounts for all eligibility designations.

    I hate that Obama is trying to bulldoze this "healthcare reform" through the upper and lower house. It was literally decades before the true costs and effects of Medicare and Medicaid came to the surface, and now Obama wants to pass some healthcare reform package after only a year or so of debate and revisions? This reform will affect America for decades to come, and needs far greater thought put into it, or at least a staged process involving both parties.

  • Comment number 71.

    Healthcare reform is an absolute necessity in the US; the system as it is will keep us in the downward spiral toward complete bankruptcy, moral and economic. Republicans have fought every progressive measure for decades, including the Medicare and Social Security systems which have saved old folks from poverty. It is a complete irony that the Republicans have allied themselves with the "Christian" community in an attempt to keep the $$ from the corporations coming.

  • Comment number 72.

    Our elected officials (and their families) have world class paid coverage provided by the people, not only for their terms of office but for the rest of their lives... while most of the people paying don't enjoy the same benefits. Maybe if we didn't have to pay for politicians to have health care, we could afford our own?... In any case, the argument that corporations are more competent and less corrupt than governments is specious. It was recently disproved in economic sectors, if I am not much mistaken, though many of my fellow countrymen prefer to ignore that fact. Leaving our health in the hands of corporations can only lead to one outcome: disaster. Of course, people who have health insurance can afford to "wait for a better idea." The rest of us cannot, but the sad fact is that those who have it feel the rest of us are expendable. A very proper, Christian point of view. No doubt Jesus would feel the same.

  • Comment number 73.

    From reading these posts, it seems to me that most people are really misinformed about healthcare in the US.

    To JM, the 45 million people in the US is a very inflated stat put out by the Obama administration to make the need for healthcare much more urgent than it actually is. 33% of all people in that stat are illegal immigrants in the US... the true number of uninsured people is actaually about 15 million less than what you, and many people, actually think.

    Secondly, most people miss the most important thing when talking about healthcare in the US. Both the wealthy and the poor have healthcare, the wealthy have private healthcare while the poor/disabled/old have medicare and/or medicade. It is the middle class that is uninsured. As the world's wealthiest middle class with a mean and median income of about $45,000 it seems to me that it is their personal choice not to have healthcare. For my family of 3, it costs us less than $200 a month, although this is one of the cheaper plans offered.

    What the US needs is not a big government run program... the population of the US is far bigger than any European country and as such it is a much more complicated thing to deliver free healthcare to +330,000 people.

    Furthermore, there are two good reasons why we should not attempt free universal healthcare. Do you really think that healthcare in Europe is free? No its not. You just pay way more taxes to fund your healthcare costs so its not really free at all in spite of what most people think.

    Look at what happened in California, there the costs of their healthcare experiment became do staggering that they couldnt afford to send out social security payments. The great thing about the US is that it is a federation made up of 50 states. What should be avoided is allowing the central government to try and fix all the problems, and allow the individual states to adopt their own healthcare policies. As has historically been the case in the US, when one state seems to find the best solution, although it usually takes many more years, the other 49 states follow its leads and adopt similar laws. This is how healthcare reforms should take place, not dictated from the central government.

    silverrunning is right to say that the free market always operates things better than government run projects. Good reform would try to introduce a lot more competition into the healthcare market, so that healthcare companies have to compete amongst one another for clients. This always drives down the price for all consumers and makes customer satisfaction a much higher priority.

  • Comment number 74.

    Dishonest fiscally irresponsible legislation,loaded with special interest (pork), drafted by legislators who have exempted themselves from the features of this bill by retaining an existing massive tax payer funded "Cadillac" program. Knowledgeable medical and fiscal experts have testified that the political claims of cost and deficit savings are false.

  • Comment number 75.

    I support caps on health care premiums, CEO bonuses, and exorbitant law suit payouts; even a voucher program whereby the poor legally American citizen can purchase some insurance. But a mandatory purchase program that will imprison non-purchasers, and that cuts into Medicare and borrows from foreign governments to pay for it, and requires complete obeisance to government bureaucracy, and exempts our political gods – absolutely not!

  • Comment number 76.

    As an American Citizen and a former Military Sgt. (Army). I can't understand why anyone would believe GOP's position on this issue as tennable. The Republican Party has been able to microwave up and serve a platter of "Fear Mongering topped with a side order of Financial Armageddon salad." American Government is the not to be trusted? Is it truly that or something a little more politically transparent? Are we to believe that after making huge profits on the backs (and wallets) of the Middle Class, that all of a sudden, health insurance companies are now OUR FRIENDS and the American Government the enemy??? I want the government to do its job which is to make laws that protect me and my family from greedy profit-mongers. And lets be clear about the so called "Government Takeover". The government is the people, the people are the government, this is what it means to be an American. The party of "NO" isn't interested in fixing health so long as "THEY" can try to use the topic to leverage political gains for their special-interest campaign contributors. The American Public has been fooled several times already by the likes of (Carl Rove, Fox News, The GOP, Bush). These are the people who brought you the Iraq War with a wink and a lie. The same people who are telling you whats good for the American Public's Health system when they had control of both houses for eight years and did nothing to fix it! The party of "NO" is now telling us "We're looking out for you America". Now that's the type of governance "YES WE CAN!" do without!

  • Comment number 77.

    It's about time. That's all I have to say on the subject.

  • Comment number 78.

    In reality the people pushing this through are idiots. Where is TORT reform??? That is the biggest cost to health care however the trial lawyers that make so much money in malpractice suits wont let that happen. The one thing needed for true reform is not even there.

    Also this will require all people to purchase health insurance or be fined. There would be subsidies for those making less than 4 times the poverty level and allow people to buy insurance in exchanges but in reality this bill does nothing to reform the system. It places more taxes on the wealthy and small businesses that are forcasted (by CBO) to grow in coming years. (Yes I know about the tax credit for those small businesses providing insurance but that doesn't offset the cost of insurance in my opinion) If these businesses don't provide the insurance then they are hit with yet another tax. In addition taxes on unearned gains on investments for those making over 250,000 would essentially deter investment. This reduces the money multiplier effect further hurting the velocity of money through the economy.

    The large expansion of Medicaid will come back to haunt the country in thirty years. Just the debt service on Medicare and Medicaid will bankrupt the US. TWELVE TRILLION in debt!! This bill is moving the budget deficit in the wrong direction.

    While the moral implications of providing insurance at some level for all is a noble cause the reality is that this bill does nothing to reform the biggest cost in the health-care industry which is malpractice suits. TORT reform is necessary to reduce the insurance premiums doctors pay. These premiums themselves should be regulated or maybe even taken over by the government (yeah I know, I'm not sure what the right way is). The amount of pointless lawsuits that must be fought in turn I believe are in the hope that they will get a huge settlement or be settled out of court drive up the costs of these premiums. I know for a fact that there are lawsuits that insurance companies decide are cheaper to settle than to fight just because it is cheaper to settle. The lawyers know this and is the reason that questionable lawsuits are continuously being filed. With a cap on the amount awarded many of the pointless lawsuits would never happen. A mediation by an independent panel could be used for investigation for complaints of malpractice. Cut out the lawyers they are just there for profit most don't care if what they argue is right or wrong.

    This bill does nothing to reform the system only adds taxes to businesses and the wealthy and increases commitments of the government. Without true reform costs will continue to rise and eventually be passed onto the taxpayer and the taxpayer's children.

  • Comment number 79.

    I recall when British people rioted over the Poll Tax in the late 1980s. For me, as one individual, this so-called "health care reform" installs several poll taxes upon me. I do not see my British brothers and sisters supporting the opposition to this.

    The law will levee a monetary fine upon anyone who does not have a private sector health-care insurance contract with a private sector company. Those who cannot afford health insurance will thus have to pay the Federal Govenment money. How many people does the government itself say cannot afford this insurance? Millions, and so they will have to pay these fines. Who profits? the government profits.

    Whereas we in the USA know little --if anything at all-- about whatever various taxes British residents must pay, I doubt that anyone in Britain has the slightest idea of the dozens of taxes we already pay in the USA
    (to the local, state, and Federal governments)without our having any say as to when, how, or why the government spends these monies (on themselves).

    Having already lost my business due to the economic situation and looking at six months until I am poenniless (literally), I am now expected to gleefully pay higher taxes to the local and state governments so they can bail themselves out of their own financial incompettancy. This Health Care plan requires me to pay several new taxes to the Federal Government. Where does one suppose I am to acquire this money, wave a magic wand?

    As far as people referring-to marxism, it is not Karl Marx' economic theory being referred-to, but in reference to the governmental dictatorship several Marxist nations instilled upon their own people during the Twentieth Century. Accurate or innacute, that is the meaning of the reference some people have been making.

    Thanks for reading. Don't throw stones at me, please.



  • Comment number 80.

    "The Post Office, Amtrak, Social Security, Fannie and Freddie... all clear examples of government ineptitude/inability/failure to be able to run ANYTHING profitably, correctly, ethically, legitimately, or to the benefit of the country. It's like they looked at an old Trabant and said "Hey, let's take over Ford and GM and force them to build these!""

    The post office is a success considering people even in the middle of no where could communicate with the outside world.

    There is also the successful communications act of 1934 that ensured everyone had a phone line. Otherwise people would be living in the stone age if broadband deployment is anything to go by.

    Virtually all roads in the US are the product of the government. The fact you can travel most anywhere without paying a toll makes that a success.

    There are tons of government programmes that went well. You can cherry pick a few bad ones but that just shows your bias.

    I don't think the healthcare plan is perfect because they compromised too much to please conservatives but my hope is if something gets started then politicians will fix it rather than trying to get rid of it.

    There is a huge inequality in the US. only the elderly and very poor get free healthcare. Either you give it to everyone or no one. Anything else creates a two-tier system where some are more equal than others. That is not what America is supposed to be about.

  • Comment number 81.

    The resounding message that's coming from the republicans, their sponsors, and all the groups that are being sponsored to hijack the health bill in the US, is:

    "If you can't afford Health Care.......Die."

  • Comment number 82.

    As a 63 year old U.S citizen I support health care reform. The millions of Americans who have no health insurance CANNOT get free health care, (Contrary to what the conservative right wingnuts spew). Emergency care is only available when something drastic has happened. And it is not free. Uninsured citizens do not get preventative care and can`t afford the medicines they need. (Such as blood pressure medicines). The U.S already has socialized medicine in The Veterans Administration, Medicare and Medicaid, and numerous other organizations. Republicans are against health care reform because most of them have health insurance, and they are generally, the greedy and wealthy, with no compassion for others. It is time that the U.S. joined most other industrialized nations in providing health care for every citizen. Good health is a human right. We need health care reform with a public option.

  • Comment number 83.

    If U S is so poor that can not take care its own people in health care,
    then U S should not waste any money in oversea. U S should withdraw all the personal from 1200 military bases around the world, and also stop the Iraq and Afghan war right now.

  • Comment number 84.

    If Obama does not succeed, no one will ever succeed! Then the US of A will go bankrupt which may not be a bad thing given its warmongering record!

  • Comment number 85.

    I believe reform is needed and this is a step in the right direction. The media coverage of health reform in america has been opinion based and shaped to provoke fear. Death panels? Unemployment for a large sector of our country (i.e. the health industry)?

    Republicans and even a fair amount of democrats have sided with big business on this issue rather than represent their constituents. It is a perfect example of how big business is becoming the 4th branch of government in the US. Just recently, the health industry spent $1 million dollars a day on advertising against this bill. They are shaping American opinions by distorting and omitting facts. Honestly that shouldn't be legal but it is.

    Will it be expensive? Yes. Taxes will increase and I am willing to pay them. I would rather put my money into social health care than invest it in another unmanned drone bombing people in foreign countries. I think the amount of money we have put into stabilizing foreign governments could be better spent at home.

    Health care should not be a profitable business and access to it should not be based upon economic affluence.

  • Comment number 86.

    The comments from the opposition to this vital bill to the USA border on the bigots of the 1930's here in the States down to the nooses that are being flashed by the protesters in Washington.

    Further these same people don't have a clue what Communist and Nazi's is, I do because I have had a life understanding what these extemist have done in destroying peoples lives.

    President Omama is the best President the country has had since Eisenhower who warned these fringe elements against the Mitilary/Industrial Complex who are providing all the propaganda against intelligent people oriented progress. Why? they own all the wealth and now feel the need to stop any threat to their dominance

  • Comment number 87.

    Thank goodness for the UK's National Health Service. I had private health insurance for decades through my job and continued paying the premiums after I retired. HOWEVER the day I became 60 years old, the premiums more than doubled. No additional health risks, no ongoing health trauma, just one day older!

    I could not afford the more-than-doubled premium. Without the NHS, I would now be in the same position as those 45 million US citizens until Medicare kicked in at aged 65.

    Health insurance companies, (like all insurance companies) are more interested in profits than providing social service.

  • Comment number 88.

    as someone in the medical field who as actually looked at the health care cost issue, i find >95% of these public comments (and talk show commentaries as well) are either based on singular anecdotes or reflect some silly political or religious ideology which is so irrelevant and fundamentally ignorant that i stop caring -- because i realize there is no way to educate them to simply understanding how little they actually know. i find this ironic because in medicine we always talk about evidence -- evidence for diagnosis, evidence for drug efficacy, evidence for cost efficiency -- yet on the internet the people who talk the loudest know the least, employ every logical fallacy known to man, and, worst of all, end up recruiting more people with no idea what they're talking about. they should watch frontline, look up the oecd data, read the policy statements from the ama, cms, ncqa, ahip, nqf, etc., search pubmed, and read the bill before rendering any sort of opinion.

  • Comment number 89.

    JM,

    I appreciate your comment-Abscesses are indeed dangerous and require treatment. However to keep with the facts here, no one in the USA will die of an abscess either. The Congressional EMTALA act ensures that you will always be treated for such an illness (such as an abscess) REGARDLESS of your ability to pay. And the followup medical treatment consisting of the best antibiotics for an abscess (Bactrim or clindamycin or keflex depending on the particular bacteria found) are all available as generic medicines and are both extremely high quality & very inexpensive. We have major problems here - without a doubt - but EMTALA ensures that no one will die of an abscess, REGARDLESS of their ability to pay.

    Additionally, if you don't have the ability to pay, each US state has Medicaid (not to be confused with national mediCARE) which takes care of people who do not have money:

    However, unfortunately the good people who get lost in the middle when it comes to preventative & ongoing healthcare are the ones who make too much to qualify the medicaid, but not enough to pay for good medical care: This absolutely needs to be solved - but in a correct, thought out and constitutional way that ensures that interests of the POOREST patients will come out ahead of those of the "big politicians". The politicians works for us, not the other way around...

  • Comment number 90.

    Nobody in the states thinks we don't need some sort of reform. This plan is NOT it however. For those of you commenting from the U.K. think back in history. What caused our split? The famous quote "no taxation without representation" may or may not ring a bell. This Bill is opposed by the majority of American in all polls conducted. Our Representatives are not doing their job and are more concerned with following their President than their constituents. The Office of Budget Management which comes up with the numbers on cost and savings has never been anywhere near right in anything they project. The plan calls for taxes based on the size of employee payrolls for companys not providing healthcare (to help pay for the program). Do you really think it wise in this economy to place more financial burden on companys. How about the fact that an individual MUST by health insurance if he doesn't have it from his/her job? What if companys decide it's cheaper to pay this tax than provide healthcare? Then the Govn't has to offer more help to more people who can't afford to buy it and "bingo" the cost has just gone up greatly. No thanks. There are some hospitals who have eihter stopped taking medicare patients or are considering it as medicare expenditures will be cut, (again to help pay for it we're told.) I work in a jail and you would be suprised at all the people who have never contributed one days work or one penny in taxes that collect healthcare. Any wonder we're in debt up to our eye balls to China. Maybe when the Feds can get that right I'll trust them to handle my healthcare. Go back, reconsider and bring something back to the American taxpayer that works.

  • Comment number 91.

    This proposal is out of the question at our time in America. With the present debt that we have we are already in a deep dark hole that not even the whole world could dig us out of, so how on earth could we ever think of adding on this massive 1.3B dollar debt? Our Government is totally out of control in its spending policies and needs to be completely repudiated by the people.

  • Comment number 92.

    to AMERICAN DOCTOR

    Thank you. Very well said.

  • Comment number 93.

    Any reform is better than nothing. It is, at least, something to build on. The very word insurance has been perverted in health care. Just try getting treated without it. I once operated on myself for an occupational injury because Doctors wanted an unreasonable deposit. I drained water from a painful elbow injury. Unfortunately I didn't have sense enough to insert a tube so it could keep draining.

    A single payer system would be portable. I have been over insured carrying both private and company insurance and totally without, not that I had much choice. This is unacceptable.

  • Comment number 94.

    I agree with the comments made in favour of changing the health system in the US. It can not be that US citizens have no way of accessing help in times of need. It can not be that private corporations determine the price of hospital costs, medicine and the like. Health should never be subject to profit and corporations which determine those. Richard Nixon opened the door for private corporations to mould the health system to their needs. Lets hope that President Obama now shuts this door now and for good for the benefit to all Americans. Maybe the reform will be expensive, yes, but as the previous commentator said, better investing in health then in bombs.

  • Comment number 95.

    When the health of the country is at stake it gives a man time to think about what healthcare affects. Honestly, I think that a healthy and well-informed nation is a productive and innovative country.

    We are not the healthiest country in the world, in fact we are worse off in some rates than third-world countries. The goal of insurance and pharmaceutical companies was never to increase the overall health of the country, or to promote preventative care. The goal of these companies was the goal of any business in America - to make money.

    The question I have for the opposition is this: SHOULD the lives of people be subjected to predatory capitalism, or to the government whose sole duty is to protect its citizens?

  • Comment number 96.

    Like most Americans, I don't have the slightest idea what the healthcare bill consists of. That is because our newspapers only report on Brittany Spears, and who Tiger Woods is having sex with.

    Everyone is for reform that helps them, but I don't know if this bill will help me, who it will and won't help, how much it will cost ME. For example, I am on Medicare, which is pretty crappy health coverage for people who worked and are retired. People who are on welfare (not retired, many not employed) are on Medicaid. This pays for their dentist, whereas I have no dental coverage. I suspect this "reform" will not include me because I am not uninsured, only inadequately insured. And I've read that Medicare coverage will be REDUCED as part of the healthcare "reform".

    I am one of the many not well to do, who did not have enough personal retirement resources, and depend wholly on Social Security for my income. That this reform will hurt me, rather than help me, explains why the idea of healthcare reform is not embraced by large numbers of Americans. The well-to-do and securely employed already better health coverage than will be offered by the government and don't need "reform". Large numbers of retired working class people will see their coverage diminished, and the working middle class will have to pay for their coverage (which they already do, but it is not administered by the government is is therefore more efficient and cost effective), and they will have to fund the insurance of the unemployed and under employed. We might be willing to do this, but isn't that just a tax, not "healthcare reform"?

  • Comment number 97.

    The American Dream is dying on the vine due to it's politicians ineptness. The middle class are being reduced to working at Walmart, or being out of work completely. And here comes another big spending burden the taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill for.

    When you are so far in debt that you cannot see a way out of it, the last thing you do is spend on something you cannot afford. Basic logic to all of us that run our finances; somehow completely ignored by US politicians. What makes this worse is that in addition to the costs of the health care bill, the politicians have added a bunch of their own local 'pork barrel' projects to burden taxpayers with as well.

    I grew up in the UK. I believe in 'socialized medicine', the national health service served me well. What I don't agree with is government spending run amock. Obama needs to be replaced by someone with some fiscal smarts.

  • Comment number 98.

    "I think we should have it set up for those that don't have insurance in the US, that we bring doctors from Europe to do the medical work. I think it's a great way for Europe to pay for their own way at the UN instead of American taxpayers doing it and it's a great way to get free medical care for us without draining our economy!"

    The US contributes 22% of the UN budget. The European Union contributes 35%.

    At the moment, EU countries are providing approximately 7,000 troops for UN peacekeeping activities around the world. The US are providing 11.

    No, that isn't 11,000 .... they are providing 11.

  • Comment number 99.

    HEALTHCARE REFORM - YES . THIS BILL -- NO . TORT REFORM AND OPEN MARKET PURCHASE ARE LACKING .BLATANT POWER GRAB IS OFFERED WITH THIS BILL . PROGRESSIVE ACTIONS WILL BE CHALLENGED , DEFUNDED , AND REVERSED . BANK REFORM AND JOB CREATION ARE MORE IN NEED OF GOVT FOCUS . COMPASSION BY LUMPING EVERYONE INTO GENERIC BASKET LOWERS THE STANDARD OF CARE AND COST WILL ALWAYS ESCALATE . POST OFFICE AND AMTRAK HAVE BEEN GOVT RUN AND BUDGET DEFICIT BLACK HOLES .

  • Comment number 100.

    I think health care reform is incredibly important, in fact I believe this bill doesn't go far enough. Its ridiculous that insurance companies have so much power over my health care. The only people deciding what's best for my health should be my doctor and myself. Health care should be a right we all have, not a privilege for those who have more money. I don't understand why people would rather give their hard earned money to an insurance company who only thinks about their profitability, not what's best for you. This reform isn't a step towards socialism, this is on the extreme right of what socialism really is. Either way, i've never seen a problem with my tax dollars going towards a health care program that we all can use if it means not having to pay an insurance company. Sure, government run programs have their issues, but so does everything else, and at least this way, the power is ultimately in the hands of the voters and not corporate America. We all know how responsible Corporate America is.

 

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