In March 2010, Barack Obama succeeded in reforming the health care system. The goal was not to establish universal coverage of care, like in Canada, but to make insurance accessible to as many people as possible. He had to settle for the “individual mandate,” which obliges Americans to join a health insurance plan or face a financial penalty. The President wanted Congress to reach a bipartisan consensus, but both sides tore into each other instead. Twenty-six governors from Republican states brought a Supreme Court action contesting the constitutionality of the individual mandate. However, in June 2012, the Court essentially ruled in favour of the Obama administration.
Those on the left deplore the watered-down reform that will profit insurance companies and still leaves too many Americans uninsured.
Those on the right denounce the reform as a costly measure that goes against the Constitution.
By the numbers
cost of the reform by 2021
number of additional Americans who will be covered by 2016
Impact of cancelling the reform: increasing the deficit by Source : Congressionnal Budget Office (March 2012)
A divisive reform
47% disapprove of the reform while 36% support it
85% support the fact that insurance companies can no longer invoke pre-existing conditions
51% are against mandatory insurance
48% say they don't understand what the reform will change for them