Kill the healthcare bill

As Congress is trying to iron out disagreements before a final decision is made to overhaul the US healthcare system, a step pushed hard by President Barack Obama, Americans are taking to the streets to have their say.

As the debate over a healthcare reform bill draws closer to a decision by US lawmakers, American citizens have turned out at two rallies in Washington DC, one outside the White House, one at the Capitol building, hoping to have their voices heard on both sides of the issue.

“Being a tax-paying citizen myself, I deserve healthcare. I don’t have healthcare,” states protester Jeffery Phillips. “I paid into the system and now I’m being denied medical treatment because my medical bills are in the thousands.”

First these protesters gathered for a last minute emergency rally outside the White House as Obama met with Senate Democrats inside. These citizens are afraid president Obama is going to give up the government-run, public insurance option in the bill. At stake in the healthcare bill is more than trillion collars, 30 million Americans without insurance, and Obama’s reputation.

Protesters insist the Democrats in Congress and the president Obama have promised the healthcare reform and now people expect them to deliver.

Only about 50 people turned up for the rally near the White House but organizers say they represent the majority of Americans, who want healthcare reform with a public option.

The gathering across town has been much larger and with a very different message.

They say that having read the bill several times they noticed so many new taxes there that it is just going to bring America to its knees.

Outside the Capitol, protesters made their voices heard much louder against the healthcare reform. Thousands came from all over the country for this Republican Tea Party protest, many driving for hours from neighboring states.

They believe the reform is evil because “it’s a government takeover”. They blame the government for “total control of the economy” and being socialist, saying “socialism is the next thing to communism”.

People RT spoke to say they’re so incited to protest and dedicated to this cause because they believe a takeover of healthcare means much more to the US.

Steffie Woolhandler, a professor from Harvard Medical School, says the proposed bill is imposing a financial burden on Americans while not changing the existing situation in healthcare:

“The coverage won’t begin until 2014, but we are going to start taxing Americans in 2010,” Woolhandler told RT. “Even if it goes all the way through, if it’s fully implemented in the year 2020, the Senate is saying there’ll be 25 million uninsured Americans. So only about half of the currently uninsured will gain coverage.”

And what is more important, “that means that we’ll continue to have 25,000 Americans dying annually, year in year out, if this Senate bill is passed and works as planned,” she added.

Watch the full interview with Steffie Woolhandler


But whose side of the debate will win with the nation’s lawmakers remains a question, with the president pushing for a deal and the senate racing to vote on the bill by Christmas.