Obama and the health of a nation

November 7, 2012 by
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Obama wins four more years, so America has voted for more universal healthcare.

Certainly the spectre at the feast – Mitt Romney , who said he would repeal Obama’s health bill on first day as president – has vanished.

‘This is a time of choice for the American people,’ Romney said here. ‘Our mission is clear. If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that.’

So the US people took his advice and made their choice.

But is the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act safe? Its measures intend the US to see affordable, accessible healthcare – including the insurance of up to 50 million Americans presently without coverage.

Yet it will take a decade to be come fully into effect, so will still not be entirely implemented until four years after Obama has left office.

There’s a certain irony that the US is now going to try and set up a healthcare system which owes its roots to our NHS, currently under demolition orders.

Of course, in the US, the real question is – will Hillary Clinton be allowed to finish the job in 2016?



Immediate access to health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions previously been refused coverage.

Insurance companies prohibited from refusing to insure under 19s with pre-existing conditions.

Insurers  banned from ‘immoral’ practices, eg cancelling policies when holders became sick, imposing lifetime financial limits on payouts for essential care, eg hospital stays.

Parents able to keep dependent children on insurance policies until 26.

Mammograms to be offered without extra cost by insurance companies

From Jan 2014

Most important measure: every American to obtain health insurance. A sliding scale of penalties kicks in over the following two years, rising to 2.5% of income or $695 per person, by 2016 for those who fail to buy insurance. Expanded Medicaid coverage will provide care for those living below the poverty line.

By 2018

All policies must cover approved preventative care without additional cost.

Tax breaks to reduce the overall cost for most families but those who choose to take out high cost insurance plans, known as “Cadillac” insurance, pay 40% tax

About the Author

Victoria Lambert has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and specialises in health and medical matters. She writes for the Telegraph, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Mail and the Mail on Sunday. She contributes to Saga, Geographical and First Eleven magazines – where she is the agony aunt.

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