The United Kingdom National Health Service refers to the government-funded medical and health care services that everyone living in the UK can use without being asked to pay the full cost of the service. Starting in 1946 as part of the Post-war consensus, it was very popular although some criticisms. They are 4 NHS, one for each constituent country of the UK. The 1948 leaflet sent out to people when the NHS started said: “Everyone – rich or poor, man, woman or child – can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a “charity”. You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.”
The United States is the only developed country devoid of a government healthcare system and the most expensive in terms of health prices. A big percentage of Americans pay high premiums and deductibles for low reimbursements, another 15% is uninsured. The Healthcare situation is a big source of stress for the American people. Being highly sick can trigger a double tragedy: health and finance. The healthcare system has Four Exceptions part of the government programs: Veterans receive full insurance, Congressmen have excellent government-provided healthcare, the Poor receive MEDICAID and the Elderly over 65 get MEDICARE. Besides, the health field mainly belongs to private and for-profit companies that cut costs, increase prices and reduce services. Thus, lots of people don’t go to the doctor but to the pharmacy where they find many over-the-counter remedies. Moreover, emergency rooms are often full, and doctors sometimes find themselves asking “Which insurance do you have?”. Those insurance companies are very profitable, their profit represents 16% of the US GDP. Nevertheless, insurance is not a supply and demand market and the health of a human, of a nation, is incompatible with corporations’ goals of profit.
In 2010, President Obama presented the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare which consisted in healthcare reform. It aimed at reducing costs and expanding insurance through subsidies and tax credits. It planned to expand MEDICARE and state programs, stop denial of coverage for some pre-existing conditions, ban lifetime limits by restricting annual limits, pool risk among companies to cover riskier patients, allow young adults until 26 to stay on parents’ plans and mandate a fine to people not buying private insurance.
The project received criticism. The organization Generation Opportunity created a series of anti-Obamacare ads to turn public opinion against a national healthcare system. Creepy Uncle Sam, for instance, is a shocking and offensive political ad claiming, “Empower Yourself by opting out of Obamacare”, whose pedagogic purpose is to show the reform should be resisted. Besides, a poster entitled This is going to hurt affirms ““Obamacare creates more IRS jobs than doctors. So how do more IRS agents keep you healthier than a doctor?”. The message is that the government would replace doctors.
At that time, polls were organized to know if people were for Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. People were answering for the second one without knowing it was the same thing. Obamacare was seen as political control and government intervention. The lesson to be learned is that everything in communication is about framing. Although Obamacare was very developed and researched, it was presented as a policy while it should have been presented as values. “You like the details, so you should love the package.” Yes but “Government takeover…loss of choice….loss of freedom.” During the electoral campaign, Obama tried to change the campaign’s name into “Obama cares”, but it was too late, people had already embraced the name “Obamacare”.
Despite Obamacare and some improvements, the US still has no universal government healthcare system. Yet, NHS is not what Obamacare Reform would have created. With Trump elected and Republicans getting the majority in Congress, it is close to death.