In his efforts to reform healthcare, US President Barack Obama is succeeding in a task that has eluded other leaders since President Roosevelt first tried almost a century ago. But why does the system need changing?
At the moment – 20 per cent of Americans are covered by the two main government schemes, Medicare and Medicaid – 16 per cent have no insurance at all.
The majority of elderly people are covered through Medicare. The scheme’s open to people over 65 years old. Medicaid is available to people on a low income and other special groups, such as those with disabilities.
The cost of healthcare is a particular problem for the middle class. Those who are not covered through work, face premiums that are rising at four times the rate of their wages.
If the situation stays the same, the cost of health will be 12 per cent of GDP by 2050. So, what will the reform mean for American people?
Thirty million more will be covered by health insurance. It will also prevent companies from stopping policies for those who become sick.
The reforms aim to provide security and stability for those who have healthcare and provide it for many who don’t.
Premium rates will fall for the poorest people and more children will have access to healthcare, as they will be covered under their parents’ policies until they turn 26.
President Obama made reforming US healthcare his top priority when he entered the White House and pledged to get a bill passed this year. After winning the majority vote in the Senate, he is a step closer to overhauling the system.