In 2008, the United States had a year-long debate about health care. A year before, polls showed that 90% of Americans thought the current system needed fundamental changes. So, half a dozen different presidential candidates including Barack Obama,
In 2008, the United States had a year-long debate about health care. A year before, polls showed that 90% of Americans thought the current system needed fundamental changes. So, half a dozen different presidential candidates including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Mitt Romney all put forth plans that would ostensibly address this problem.
McCain's proposal mostly amounted to tax breaks. Mitt Romney's was similar, though it hinted at a requirement to buy health insurance. Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's, however, were much more ambitious, and included a complete overhaul of the current system, an expansion of Medicaid, and a public option.
Obama and McCain wound up winning their respective parties primaries. Health care was debated extensively on the campaign trail and in the three nationally-televised debates. It was also contentiously debated in Congressional campaigns, with Republicans mostly calling for tax cuts and deregulation and Democrats proposing an extensive overhaul.
The result of the election was that Barack Obama won a higher percentage of the popular vote than Ronald Reagan in 1980, and was given even larger majorities in the House and Senate than the Democrats had won in 2006.
With their electoral mandate, Democrats shortly after began to put together the legislation that Obama had campaigned on, though the bill that ultimately passed was more conservative, including a mandate and omitting the public plan. The Democrats finally were able to pass the Affordable Care Act -- barely -- after a year of Teabaggers screaming "death panels" and corporatist Democrats and Blue Dogs watering it down.
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