How Does the Swine Flu Vaccine Tie With the US Healthcare Reform?
The US healthcare reform has been a much debated issue this year. Many people have criticised the reform but are not offering a better solution to the problem, namely the Republican Party members. The healthcare reform has failed many times previously, for President Roosevelt, President Nixon and President Clinton. Nonetheless, it is a very important topic for several reasons.
Firstly, the US healthcare industry is about the same size as the UK economy. That scale is fundamentally important to everyone, if it is to be reformed. The US healthcare system has significantly contributed to making the country the biggest consumer in the world for the past 20-30 years. Its healthcare spending is twice the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average, 17% of Gross Domestic Product ($2.2 trillion) and rising extremely quickly. Some form of action must be taken to prevent this spending from spiralling out of control.
Secondly, the healthcare reform was a large part of the reason why President Obama was elected; it is his most important policy goal and the goal of the world’s most influential country. The outcome of this scenario will have an impact on the success of the remainder of his presidential campaign. These other issues which he aims to tackle, for example climate change, are significant to the rest of the world.
President Obama has stated that he intends to get the $1 trillion reform implemented this year. Consequently, I think it will be interesting to see how the reform will tie with the escalating costs of the swine flu vaccine. Furthermore, what will be equally important is the timing of the reform and how that relates to the swine flu epidemic.
I think that a reform is not likely until December, by which time the success of the swine flu vaccine would have been partially determined. There is likely to be a shortage of vaccines, and this could create public hysteria. This precise moment could be good timing for the new health plan to be introduced. The public would be less opposed to the reform, concerned on other matters. Meanwhile the Government could bring in fresh supplies of the vaccination and prove to the public that it was a smart move to reform, keeping the Democratic Party in favour of the majority of the population.