Obama may face a fight in his attempt to get his reforms through
US President Barack Obama has pledged to push through a health reform package by the end of the year that would reduce health costs, increase choice and widen coverage.
Mr Obama has made the issue a top priority of his first year in office, but with lawmakers struggling to reach agreement, it may prove one of his biggest challenges.
Here, readers from the US debate the reform package, give their verdict on whether they support it or not and describe some of the own healthcare experiences.
SUPPORT OBAMA'S HEALTH REFORMS
I believe that President Obama is on the right track. Something has to be done about healthcare in the United States. There are too many uninsured and too many underinsured, especially now that the recession has taken hold. This is a necessary topic that needs to see action as soon as possible. My hope is that Obama is able to push it through by the end of the year, and I have full faith in him that he will do what is best for the American people. There are too many band-aids trying to cover the bullet wounds in the current system and it is time for change.
Megan, Marshall, Michigan, USA
I live in the United States and my family is uninsured. My mother just got sick and had to be hospitalised for a week. Our bills are reaching $100,000 and we are going to lose everything. Not only has this ruined us but we can't afford continuing care. If Obama does nothing I have to watch us continue to lose everything and watch my mother get sicker and sicker because we can't afford to keep her alive.
I lost my grandmother because we couldn't afford the treatments to keep her alive and I won't lose my mother, because my nation says we are too poor to deserve life. We all sat down at the television with our breaths held praying that Obama would fight for us at that health care press conference. He needs to save us all.
Joshua, Sanford, Florida, USA
There is no question of not having universal healthcare coverage, which is not a privilege but a right in the richest country on earth. If the bill is not passed for preventative health care, the financial health of this country will be doomed forever. There is no other choice, whether you like it or not.
Satish, Media, USA
I hope President Obama is able to push through his plans for health reform. We need to come up to the standard of the rest of the industrialised world, as far as healthcare is concerned. Conservatives, Republicans and the health insurance industry have so far given us a joke of a system that kills people every week, and doesn't work well for anyone other than the rich. Their lies and hatred of the rest of the country may well kill this very badly needed reform, to the detriment of the US as a whole.
Glen, St Louis, USA
I think the president is correct and is heading in the right direction. A country like the US needs a universal health plan, if it is going to continue to be a leading economy and be competitive with other emerging countries like China, Russia, and India. The problem is that rich Americans are used to paying little tax while the middle class pay for most of the services in the US. I think it is time to correct this issue once for all.
Alemayehu Haile, Atlanta, USA
Healthcare reform is absolutely necessary. Health insurance is really no insurance, as insurers refuse to cover people with existing conditions, and find ways to deny coverage for more and more conditions, medications, and treatments. Healthcare providers are just as much at the mercy of the insurance companies as are the people who need care.
The health care situation is, in reality, much more damaging to Americans than any other factor and Obama is right and moral to tackle this problem. Some people in the legislature (Republicans) care much more about power, and putting Obama down, than they do about American people. Obama's principles are sound, but the current healthcare insurance industry is a paperwork-laden juggernaut that will be hard to stop.
A Sievert, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
We absolutely need healthcare reform, so that we Americans can receive the same level of care available to most Europeans. Our infant mortality rate is one of the highest among developed nations, yet many Americans are unaware of this. I expect the Houses of Congress will pass some watered-down, substandard plan that bleeds the middle class without meeting its goals.
There is a stubborn streak in American thought that insists that those citizens who are not successful are somehow fully deserving of the penury in which they live, despite evidence to the contrary. In spite of our claims to a moral high ground, the United States is, in the final analysis, a nation with little mercy.
Cameron Williams, Brooklyn, NY, United States
I have been without insurance for 10 years. I have pre-existing conditions and insurance companies won't insure me. I am unable to get healthcare or medicine. The insurance industry is very powerful and they have many politicians in their pockets. The rich (Republicans) are happy with their insurance and low taxes. Right wing mouthpieces, such as multimillionaire Rush Limbaugh, are accusing President Obama of socialism. I believe the president and Congress will provide a healthcare plan by the end of the year that will cover every citizen. It is absolutely essential that all US citizens receive healthcare.
Georeg Jump, Montross, USA
I have worked in the American healthcare system for 32 years. There is so much money wasted in our current system. I am proud of President Obama for doing what is right for the American people. A public option and a system to regulate the insurance companies is exactly what is needed.
Whitney Rill, Grand Rapids, USA
OPPOSE OBAMA'S HEALTH REFORMS
I am definitely not in favour of the president's plan. Over 85% of Americans currently have healthcare they are satisfied with and to overhaul the system for 15% of the population is ludicrous. And to further tax people at a time of severe economic distress is totally irresponsible. The idea that it will only be a tax on "millionaires" is laughable. It will hit the middle class without a doubt. This president is trying to break America.
Debra Heiniger, Kansas City, MO, USA
I'm appalled at Obama's claim that huge numbers of Americans do not have access to healthcare. A blatant lie, as every hospital is obliged to care for everyone, even illegals that come to their door. Indignant persons simply do not pay their bill, which is eventually written off as uncollectable. Large numbers of people, especially immigrants who could pay, choose not to obtain healthcare insurance and rely on receiving guaranteed care for free. We have choice. We don't want change.
Allan and Dolores Baumgartner, San Jose, California, USA
The entire idea that the government is somehow responsible for the individual is a dangerous and wrong direction for our republic to move in. Our president is already hell bent on spending money that he doesn't have, supported by a people that should be standing up and screaming "stop this madness"!
Bret Dukelow, Chesapeake, Virginia, USA
It will absolutely not work. Nowhere in the US Constitution is the Federal government given the power to set up a government-run healthcare system or health insurance system. All powers not specifically granted to the Federal government in the Constitution are reserved for individual states. This is a power-grab by Obama to continue his quest to transform our republic into a socialist country, along with the unconstitutional bail-outs of the insurance and automotive industries.
David Zimlin, Dunedin, Florida, USA
Obama keeps painting everything as a crisis, like someone with ADD. I don't get it - one of the biggest changes ever and he wants it pushed through without a thorough review? It is quite apparent it is his way or nothing. He does not take any criticism well and instead states it is only for his opponents' political gain. This issue is too big to be treated as another "crisis" for him to tackle. It should not be pushed through the House without a thorough examination.
Cheri, South Carolina, USA
Obama's healthcare plan is a disaster in the making. Although he claims it will broaden choice, what he failed to mention is that under the terms of the bill, private insurance companies will no longer be able to sign new contracts. What a blow to the concept of liberty and freedom.
Nathan, Bethlehem, Connecticut, USA
Creating a socialist nation one bill at a time. That is all this president is trying to accomplish. This drive towards "universal" healthcare is the next step in tearing down the United States of America, the first being the "bail-out". If you you can't afford something, then why should you have it? If your business fails, why should I, via my taxes, pay to keep you in business?
Adam, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
It is a sham. Too big, too much hidden inside. Obama and our politicians say they want reform. But if they truly wanted reform it would be in a series of smaller legislations, each addressing one of the issues causing the problem. Back in the 1980s the Grace Commission Report convened under President Regan identified many of the specifics which needed to be addressed so as to bring down cost. Just two of the many suggestions - reform the tort system and standardise paperwork - would save billions of dollars.
Albert, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, USA