OBAMA WINS HEALTHCARE VOTE: Only one story in town today folks – the land of the free ill get a very American version of the NHS – albeit one that lacks any Government run health care scheme. Mention to an American socialised healthcare `free at the point of use’ and one is likely to get one of two responses. a) I wish our system were like that, or b) its unmanageable, unaccountable and inefficient. No thanks! Add to the debate the following, courtesy of the WHO: America has 50 million uninsured; 18,000 Americans die every year as a direct result of not having cover; yet the country still manages to spend twice as much on health per capita as the UK. Eventually you arrive at President Obama’s flagship domestic policy, which this morning became an almost certain reality, as the US Senate voted on a Christmas eve for the first time in well over 100 years to back fundamental healthcare reform. Well, it was meant to be fundamental healthcare reform – but the truth is it’s a wee bit of a) reined in with a whole lot of b). Affordable insurance will be extended to another 30 million Americans, and companies will no longer be allowed to refuse policies to those with pre-existing conditions. But after a year of increasingly vehement Republican opposition (remember those `NHS death panels’) the scheme has, frankly, been watered down. 20 million Americans will still be left uninsured, and there will be no `public option’ – government managed insurance – after stiff resistance from industry who feared they would be priced out of business.
I still think that, like the COP15 initiative, it a step in the right direction for social justice, for once, in the USA.