Health care reform a key election issue in 2014 midterms


The United States remains the only industrialized country without a universal health care system, with tens of millions of uninsured Americans. President Barack Obama led an effort to change that, ultimately passing the Affordable Care Act. But now, more than four years later, some Americans said the law that they thought would help them, has not. CCTV America’s Sean Callebs reports from St. Louis as part of our continuing series, Route 2014: The road to the U.S. Election.

In the U.S., everyone over age 65 has insurance through Medicare, and people under the poverty line are covered by Medicaid. Missouri is one of 22 states that did not approve the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and residents have lost out on $4 billion a year in federal funding. At least one rural hospital even had to close because it lost Medicaid funding.

“I think those of us who are working in American health care remain hopeful, that the political landscape will allow the parties to come together and to think about how to make really needed improvements in the Affordable Care Act,” said Steve Lipstein, the chief executive of BJC Healthcare, which runs a number of hospitals and clinics.

Lipstein said that while ObamaCare isn’t perfect, 14 million more Americans are insured under the plan.

The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other country on Earth. In 2011, the U.S. spend more than $6,500 per person, that’s more than Norway, which was the first country to pass universal healthcare. It’s also more than Canada and Brazil combined and nearly 20 times more than China.

But the high spending doesn’t necessarily translate into healthier people. A person born in 2012 will live to an average age of 79 in the Unite States, which is not as long as people living in Brazil or China.

CCTV America interviewed Wendell Potter, the former head of communications for a leading U.S. health insurance company and author of “Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans” about what’s driving these health care costs.

Follow Wendell Potter on Twitter @wendellpotter

Our special series Route 2014: The Road to the U.S. Election continues tomorrow where we will look at terrorism and U.S. foreign policy. For more behind-the-scenes information about this series visit: