Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 16:32 UK

Obama healthcare debate: Your views

An opponent of President Obama's healthcare reform voices her feelings in Alhambra, California
Opponents have been vociferous in their protests against Obama's plans

US President Barack Obama's plans to reform healthcare is proving an extremely divisive issue among Americans.

Mr Obama has accused opponents of his proposals of trying to "scare the heck" out of people.

Opponents, meanwhile, have been making serious accusations about his plans and strongly voicing their opinions at town hall-style meetings across the country.

Here, readers in the US debate the president's plans and describe some of the scenes at the town hall meetings.


I was at the town hall meeting held by President Obama on Tuesday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Many difficult questions were asked of him and he answered each and every one. He knows what he is talking about. He is on a mission and will see it through to success. The USA needs to safeguard the health of its people just as the UK, Canada and countless other countries do. If we are supposed to be number one, then why are we so far behind on domestic issues that matter, like healthcare, education, and retirement pensions.

I saw many protesters outside of the high school. They were screaming at those in line. Many had posters with obscure slogans that have nothing to do with healthcare. Attention seekers, that 's all they are. The USA needs change. The youth of America wants change. We are the future of the USA and we are not standing down.
Sophia Concha, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA

I participated in a town hall meeting tonight attended by about 800 people. I am a nurse and I believe it is important to pass this healthcare bill as a starting point for the much needed reform that is imperative for the health and well being of all our citizens.
Salima Cobb, Ben Lomond, California, USA

The USA desperately needs this healthcare reform and those opposing Obama on this issue do not have the country's best interests at heart
Mary S Mitchell, Seattle, Washington, USA

As an American who has struggled to get health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, I strongly support President Obama's ideas for healthcare reform. I'm disappointed, but not surprised, at the incivility and misinformation being promoted by opponents of his plan. Those tactics are what lost them power last year, and it appears they're still smarting from that.
Violetta, Talahassee, Florida, USA

It has been very confusing, this protesting lot and polling figures. I don't know one person that is against some form of government health care. Could it be because I'm in the financial bracket that can't afford good health care and that most of my family and friends are in the same boat. On a side note, it's usually not the loudest voice that honestly represents the view of the majority. Did we not learn from the banging and ruckus that the far Christian right did not represent the views of most Christians? It must be the same with healthcare.
Philip Tappan, Fredonia, New York, USA

How can opponents justify opposing the provision of the right to receive healthcare to over 40 million people. Do they realise how illogical their position is? Healthcare rationing in the USA is currently far more widespread than in the UK. Here, it is dictated by the terms of insurance policies as opposed to the one-on-one opinion of your doctor as in the UK.
Rick Taylor, Seattle, USA

I have eight people living in my property that are aged 17-56. One has veterans' health coverage, the rest have no health care, including myself. We need healthcare for the shrinking middle class.
Allan Rounsley, Centralia, Washington State, USA

I think Mr Obama can do this. He answered all the questions in his excellent appearance on Tuesday. I can't believe this is meant to be the most developed country in the world. The price of medicines is too high. No wonder seniors and those who can't afford them have to go to Canada to buy them.
Ranjan, USA

The good thing about the opposition to Obama on his healthcare bill is that it is so noisy. It shows us what happens when people who do not have to worry about the cost of something oppose someone else who is trying to help those who do - they get excited, stamp their feet and yell a lot. It's no way to win an argument - so the opposition are helping to make the case for Obama's proposal.

I am reminded of the noisy rage of those opposed to the Jarvis property tax amendment which enabled people in California to keep homes they could no longer afford to pay property tax on. The more they shouted down Jarvis, the more we voters became aware that it was an ugly group opposing the amendment and what a racket property tax was. It also reminded us that it needed to be rolled back and we put the amendment through.
Jeanne Thwaites, El Cerrito, California, USA

I have not attended any Town Hall meetings and am appalled by media reports of mob behaviour there. The USA desperately needs this healthcare reform and those opposing Obama on this issue do not have the country's best interests at heart. Selfish reasons motivate them.
Mary S Mitchell, Seattle, Washington, USA


Yes Republicans are genuinely concerned with the state of healthcare and to argue that every single town hall meeting has been infiltrated by the Republican top brass is silly. I myself am more concerned that the quality of my healthcare will decline under Obama's plan. While scare tactics appear on both sides of the American political spectrum I see those town hall meetings as a display of real fear in Republicans and Democrats alike.

I accept Obama as my president but I am not in agreement with his healthcare reforms. I say this not because because I'm spooked by the far right but because of my own personal beliefs on how healthcare should be provided. There's nothing wrong with the questions that the right wingers are asking and in this arena the devil is in the details.
Andrew Brenner, Tucson, Arizona, USA

I am a Brit who likes the [British public health system] NHS. I am currently living in Texas and I just attended a town hall meeting. Just one person out of several hundred was in favour of this package and seeing some of the details I don't blame them. In my experience Americans don't like nannying and government interference in their personal lives.

Most are happy with their own private insurance and some are happy without any, preferring to pay for medical services if and when needed. Those people feel that the proposed changes are being rushed through and in any case should be aimed only at those people who genuinely need help to get insurance. Some of the small print in this Bill is pretty scary.
Mike King, Texas, USA

The Obama administration and congressional Democratic leaders are lying extensively to ram this healthcare bill into law
Keith Peregrine, Philo, Illinois, USA

I attended a town hall meeting today. I assure you, the protests here were very genuine. We need a bipartisan healthcare bill that is administered by the private sector. Government-run programmes prove too costly. They do not spur competition to lower prices, the government just keeps taxing us more to pay for a soon-to-be bloated and unfair programme. Democrats have totally shut out the Republicans' ideas, and their plan will fail because you can't have half the US population totally in disagreement. Many things the Democrats are telling us do not agree with what is actually written in the proposed bill. We folks here in the Midwest are an independent type, we take care of ourselves.

We don't want the government telling us what we need and don't need, by only offering coverage for the things they (certain congressmen) think we need. I would like to see less regulation for doctors so they can lower their costs, more price controls on drugs, more access to low-cost minor care clinics. There are a lot more great ideas out there, but the Democrats are set on total government control. Other nations have state-run health programs they cannot afford. We will never allow the government to have that kind of control.
Phyllis Blanton, Wichita, Kansas, USA

Something the US and world media fail to recognise is that these protests are from people who generally have never protested before. The reasons are many, but essentially come down to this: Government programmes fail to live up to promises made and are far more expensive than projected. One only has to look at Medicare and Medicaid to see this.

Another issue is the appearance of Congress not reading the healthcare bill or lying about not understanding it. People here do not like being lied to and quite frankly, the Obama administration and congressional Democratic leaders are lying extensively to ram this healthcare bill into law.
Keith Peregrine, Philo, Illinois, USA

The issue is that protesting has always been a tool of the left, which is younger and has the time to appear at protests. The right is now protesting, and one reason is that many are now out of work and have the time to be active in the public discourse. The left is upset that the right is using the left's tactics against them. Also, Barack Obama is not used to being criticised, and he is horrible at dealing with questions or criticism. As with most leaders, his arrogance is becoming visible.
Jim Korn, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

The grass roots movement against Mr Obama's proposed reforms is genuine. I haven't attended a town hall meeting, but like many Americans, I cannot support the plan for various reasons. Even those of us who favour healthcare reform do not find Mr Obama's plan acceptable. His determination to push the plan through Congress quickly rouses the suspicions of a number of Americans who are already alarmed by his seemingly reckless economic policies. Traditionally, we Americans prefer that the federal government not be involved with what we perceive as our personal affairs.
Linda, Ocala, Florida, USA

I am vigorously opposed to Obama's healthcare reform, and have written many letters to my Congressmen and to the president on the issue. I feel very strongly about it - and I am not a registered Republican, or a paid protestor, or representing anyone but myself.

There are very real issues involved that are not being reported by the mainstream media. And I have stated my case, using real facts - including the president's own words - to explain why there are problems with his healthcare plan. Yet, I feel that no one is listening - they are accusing people like me of awful things, and are attempting to shut us up. That makes me very, very angry.
Mary Ellen, Richmond, Virginia, USA

I do not support Obama's narrow minded approach to solving the USA's healthcare issues. I find it paradoxical that he wants people to talk with each other yet he asserts that anyone who disagrees is part of the insurance lobby or a bogeyman. I resent this assertion because I consider myself a highly educated professional person who disagrees. For example, where is tort reform? Is Obama in the lawyers' pocket? Why accuse the insurance companies, as if all were the same, and not address the outrageous impact of lawsuits leading to costly financial judgments on healthcare costs?
Peter Mosgofian, Arcata, California, USA

I keep hearing that the majority of us here in America support the healthcare proposals. I live in America but I've yet to talk with anyone who is in favour of the current proposal. Many of us feel that changes need to be made but also feel the Obama administration is currently on the wrong track.
Angela, Oregon, USA

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