Considering that the President of the United States in the last 20 years has been either a Bush or a Clinton, at least one thing is certain -no more Bush or Clinton. A new man will be at the helm, to be decided this November 4th, which is less than a month away. Some of the biggest issues that may well decide who will win and become the 44th President include : the state of the economy, Iraq, fuel prices, illegal immigration and healthcare.
The lattermost issue (healthcare) is one of the most contentious. And It is not difficult to see why: when one considers that 46 million Americans are still not insured, the waiting lists are getting longer, increase in healthcare costs rising in the double digits annually and the tightening of insurance benefits via increasing premiums and copayments (the percentage of the hospital bill that the patient has to pay out of his own pocket).
How did healthcare in the US get into such an unhealthy state? For one, there was never a formal scheme or program by government to implement access to healthcare for everyone. Fragmented attempts by both government (Medicare and Medicaid) and the private sector( private health insurance existing for profit) has left many out of the loop. Added to this has been the unbridled medicolegal litigation costs and medical inflation.
So how to the two Presidential candidates plan to improve access to healthcare? Simply put, McCain the Republican wants government to increase private insurance coverage so that everyone can buy insurance with the help of a tax rebate obtained largely by moving the rebates from employers to employees. Now, everyone can buy! is the hope of McCain supporters.
Obama the Democrat, on the other hand, is pushing for government to provide healthcare for everybody by expanding the role of the existing Medicare into a compulsory public insurance scheme.
Both candidates’ proposals has got its pros and cons and many other countries have tried the proposed models earlier and encountered their fair share of problems. Essentially, its a case of private vs public insurance.
Other countries will be watching too because, whatever direction the US takes, it will have a definite impact on the healthcare world. As they say, when America sneezes, the world catches a cold…