The main police agenda of the Obama campaign in 2008 was health care. The large number of uninsured Americans, the rising costs of health care, and the increasing public concern about the issue all made it a priority. The United States easily spends more money than any other nation on health care. By the year 2017, this cost will be almost $13,000 a person according to the projection by the government. Almost half of Americans are covered by employer policies.
About 60% of Americans are covered by health insurance that is provided by the government. Almost 20% of us have no health insurance. These numbers come from the United States census. According to the government, almost 16.3 percent of the GDP of the United States goes directly to costs of health care. This projected growth (and actual growth) is an enormous leap from what is was even thirty years ago and is much larger than other countries.
According to Kaiser, the number two issue early in the 2008 presidential election campaign was health care. This beats out the Iraq war. Almost 40% of democrats and independents said this and almost 30% of Republicans did the same. Most people who were insured and satisfied about their plans had no problem. Many people, on the other hand, were worried about the rising costs of their plans or being dropped from their plans. Public Agenda reported that in 2007, almost half of citizens in the United States believed that there needed to be a fundamental change in the health care system.
The health care system in the United States is a very complex mix of both private and public programs. A lot of Americans who have insurance for health care are covered by their employer. The federal government tries to insure the poor using their Medicaid program and the elderly through their Medicare program and they also try and cover federal employees and Congressmen. Some state run programs will help insure some other public employees. Reform plans almost always go one of three ways: reduce and control costs but don’t modify the structure. Expand the eligibility for the two federal programs. Or get rid of the entire system and try to start over. The latter plan is obviously the most radical and is sometimes called single payer insurance. The terms do not really reflect a true consensus.
Health care can be big business. In 2007, the total spent by the United States on health care was over 7900 dollars a person. That is almost 17% of the GDP of the United States. Spending is expected to increase by almost seven percent in 2008. That number is twice the rate of inflation.
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