Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

US healthcare: Head to head

Legislation extending healthcare to an additional 32 million Americans has been hailed by President Obama and the Democrats as a historic advance in social justice. But the bill has been opposed by millions of Americans. Here are the views of people both for and against it.


Tom and Faith Brown
This is a 'Robin Hood' plan to rob the well-off to give to the have-nots, and this is what socialism really is
Tom Brown

From all the statistics I see 80% of Americans are happy with the healthcare they get now and don't want the massive change Obama is pushing.

One issue is the cost of it and the second is the constitutionality of it. There is nothing in the US constitution which says the federal government can fine a citizen for not purchasing a health insurance policy.

I hope it gets stopped in the Supreme Court. I am 66, and a retired vice-president at an electrical engineering company.

I had insurance throughout my working life, even during the 13 years when I was self-employed and paid for it myself.

I live on an island off the coast of Virginia and have a choice of good hospitals in neighbouring Maryland. I recently had a rotator cuff operation at a hospital in Berlin, Maryland, and was very happy with the service.

The only way they are going to pay for this is by cutting the funds available through Medicare. More and more doctors will leave Medicare.

It will decrease the quality of healthcare and we will end up like England where if you have anything that is the slightest bit postponable you can wait months and months for care.

Obama is claiming that he will put competition into the industry. But he is not changing the system, which means that you can only buy insurance from a company which is registered in your home state.

I'm in Virginia and if I could buy insurance from a company in Maryland I could get it cheaper.

Nor is he doing anything to stop the pharmaceutical industry making outrageous profits. Drugs in Canada cost half as much as they do in the United States.

All in all, this bill is a "Robin Hood" plan to rob the well-off to give to the have-nots, and this is what socialism really is.

This may work well in England, but will not sit well with the American people and the [mid-term] election results in November will, I believe, reflect this to a great extent.


Barry and Diana Fetterman
America needed something and it has got to be viewed as a good start
Barry Fetterman

Healthcare is paramount to a good "quality of life". It is also beneficial to keeping America growing and working - that is key to a healthy economy that trickles into world stability.

Because I was in the US Air Force I qualify as a veteran, but my wife Diana is uninsured. I'm 58 and she is 64.

We live in Knoxville. I was laid off from my job as an IT manager in 2008 and as a result of that we lost the healthcare insurance which had covered us both.

America needed something and it has got to be viewed as a good start.

My wife is British - she's from Portsmouth - so we know the National Health Service (NHS) quite well.

I know the NHS is sometimes too costly for the country and is not always getting the same quality of care but my mother-in-law is in her 80s and was treated very well.

This is the first president who has really gone all out for healthcare and a lot of the opponents are people who do not agree with anything he does.

The insurance industry turn you down or drop you and then drag you over the coals.

If I had an accident and was taken to hospital for treatment they would want to know as soon as possible how I would pay for it. Some women with breast cancer are turfed out the next day after treatment.

Like any legislation you can't tell how it will play out. Let's see what works and fix what does not.

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