Health care highlights the divides in the Democratic Party

Health care is once again a dominant issue for Democrats as voters go to the polls in 14 states and one US territory on Super Tuesday.

The party’s nomination race is shaping up to be a battle between former Vice President Joe Biden and maverick senator Bernie Sanders for the right to take on Donald Trump in November.

And the pair’s proposals for solving America’s health care crisis are revealing of the ideological divide within the party between moderates and progressives.

Biden is a fierce defender of his old boss’s Obamacare plan but Sanders wants to go further with an NHS-style universal health care system.

President Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act in 2010
Image:President Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act in 2010

To Americans, living in the reality of a complex and fractured health care system, faith with any politician to find a solution is wearing thin.

Look at the costs and the cover, it is easy to see why so many are frustrated.

In California, Carol pays $350 a month for health cover for herself and her adopted daughter Vivica. It means Carol, who we cannot identity because of her family circumstances, does have private healthcare.

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But that plan does not cover ambulances, catastrophic illness or prescription medication. So, Carol pays more than $2100 out of her own pocket every month for the prescription drugs Vivica needs.

The Sanders plans appeals to her. She told Sky News: “It would be so wonderful if people understood universal healthcare. Yes, taxes are higher but what’s the difference between paying that and $350 a month?”

But many Democrats fear the Sanders plan will scare off moderate Republicans and independents who are wary of a government-run system.

As Carol says: “I don’t think Americans are ready for that.

“I do believe he might have a better chance of getting everybody to work together than our current president.”

Without financial help from her family to meet the monthly costs, Carol says, she would already be bankrupt.

And Vivica will need those medications – costing $24,000 a year – for the rest of her life.

And for millions of American families WITH health care this is what life is like.

Is Carol hopeful that someone will find the answer to America’s healthcare puzzle?

“I’m hopeful but I don’t think it’s going to happen during my time.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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