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Readers' reaction as US health bill clears fresh hurdle

Pro-reform protesters in New York
The issue has sparked fierce debate among the public and lawmakers

President Barack Obama's healthcare reform bill has cleared a key hurdle in the US Senate, putting the legislation on course for a final vote on Thursday.

Americans for and against Mr Obama's quest to extend healthcare coverage to the uninsured - legislation which Republicans argue is flawed - have been telling the BBC what they think of the latest development.

FOR

This would mark a revolutionary change if this healthcare reform bill passes through the Senate. Almost everyone would be covered by this bill. It would prevent unnecessary suffering and deaths. For this reason, everyone in Congress and the president deserve praise. This will be a true Christmas gift to the people of the USA.
Rama, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA

This is just a first step in a long-delayed process. It is imperative that the stranglehold that big insurance and big pharmaceutical companies have on the US is broken.
Fred Reeve, Rockville, Maryland, USA

This is big. It will open up health insurance to real competition for the first time.
John Flynn, Tucson, Arizona, USA

This is most important for the prosperity and welfare of the US in the long run. Over 70% of bankruptcies in the US are due to medical bills and this is cruel.
Venkat Reddy, Eagan, USA

I wholeheartedly support the reform measures. I am a little disappointed that it has been diluted so much that key provisions like the public option have been taken out, but half-bred, they say, is better than nothing.
Grant Akidi, New York, USA

I am for health reform. I am one of those millions who cannot afford health insurance. However, up to now, my Congressmen did not care. That is about to change.
Martha Sue Duncan, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA

To borrow a phrase from the Reagan era, it is a new day for America. Although the Senate bill does not go as far as I would have liked, it does represent a giant step in a new and decidedly better direction. The political debate and dialectics of the past year have been as bitter, acrimonious and mean-spirited as I can remember witnessing in this country. Yet this vote, assuring Congressional passage of a healthcare bill, makes it all seem worthwhile.
Bill Anderson, San Francisco, California, USA

I support this bill. It's long overdue. I finally get something for my tax dollars other than another war.
Gary Felto, Munroe Falls, Ohio, USA

I strongly support this healthcare legislation. I had hoped for either universal coverage or a public option, but will support this legislation that the Democrats have worked hard to procure.
Jeanne Held, Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, USA

AGAINST

This has the possibility of becoming one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed by our elected representatives. It will be a defining moment for those who voted for it, when the people vote them out of office in the next elections. We are tired of them not listening to us when the majority of the people do not want this monstrous debt and entitlement package. Stop spending money we don't have.
James Bertram, Brumley, MO, USA

An anti-healthcare reform protestor carries a placard saying "Your health plan makes me sick"
Anti-reform campaigners have staged repeated protests across America

No to this healthcare reform bill! I am 67, on Medicare and Social Security. My wife and I have been married for 44 years. Our access to healthcare will be reduced, or become more expensive, or both. During 25 years as a small business owner, I paid for my employees' health insurance. It cost me plenty, but I did the right thing. It's time for our Congress to now do the right thing, which is to not pass this bill. Get it right before passing anything. The right thing is to take care of US citizens who are paying or have paid the bills and done the right thing all their lives.
Thomas J Jackson, Petersburg, Virginia, USA

Probably the biggest mistake this country has ever made, except for financing the world's problems. Obama is going to regret pushing this bill through.
Orville Schinke, USA

I oppose this disastrous bill. It does nothing to cut costs, only shift them around. As always, the cost of these grand schemes is pushed onto the middle class, making us pay for everyone else.
Martin Matthews, Troy, Michigan, USA

I do not want this reform. It will cost us more money with less care provision. Those who voted for this will pay for it in the next election.
Douglas Ives, Martinsville, Virginia, USA

This bill represents a complete failure by members of Congress to listen to their constituents. This administration and both Houses are way out of control. This is still the United States of America, not the United Socialist States of America.
D J Filak, Bisbee, USA

This healthcare bill is a move toward socialism. There are major problems in this country that need to be fixed more urgently. We are currently in a depression here, not a recession. Congress passes legislation like this and meanwhile approves giving other countries billions of dollars, while they let their own citizens suffer.
JT, USA

WANT FURTHER DEBATE

This is a huge step toward reform. But the final bill could look very different from either of the current versions in the House or Senate. There are still a lot of compromises to be made. I strongly support a public option, but would be satisfied with a bill that reduced overall costs, better regulated the insurance industry and guaranteed people could not be turned away for pre-existing conditions. Congress should be able to do at least that much.
Jennifer, Somerville, USA

The Senate bill is badly flawed, but better than nothing. Unfortunately, the final bill passed will more closely resemble the version passed by the Senate after reconciliation with a more sweeping bill passed by the House of Representatives. While the Senate bill contains some badly-needed reforms to outlaw some of the most onerous practices of the US's private insurers, Congress is essentially guaranteeing a long food fight because the job will only be half-done. It's something to build on but the final grade will be incomplete.
David Martin, Marietta, USA

Healthcare reform legislation is important for everyone who lives in the USA whether you have insurance or not. But I'm concerned that the details of the plans have not been advertised in a clear, honest way. It feels like backroom deals have been made between the far-left, medical industries and insurance companies. Bold steps often need to be taken towards solutions, but we haven't looked before we're being told to leap on something which will have an impact for generations to come.
John P, Marietta, GA, USA

I live in Boston but I grew up in Michigan, in one of the poorest cities in the country. I am now 21 and frankly, there isn't a more important issue to me right now than healthcare. However, I do not think the legislation that will eventually pass will be enough, and although I vote Democrat I am very disappointed in the many things they have allowed to be taken out of the bill, such as a public option and adding abortion restrictions. Something will pass, but I doubt it will do much good.
Tiffany Sears, Boston, USA



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