13 Sep 2009

Protest in US capital against health reforms

10:00 pm on 13 September 2009

Tens of thousands of people have marched from the White House to Capitol Hill in Washington to protest against President Barack Obama's plans to reform health care.

The march was co-ordinated by Freedomworks, a grassroots movement calling for lower taxes and smaller government.

Protesters from different states attended to attack Mr Obama's administration for what they call 'out-of-control spending' on healthcare, stimulus packages and the bailout of the banking and car industries.

They consider that spending tax dollars on a government-run health insurance option will increase inflation and lead the country to economic ruin.

Healthcare in the United States currently costs $US2.2 trillion per year, or 16% of GDP - nearly double the OECD average.

The BBC reports an estimated 46 million Americans do not have health insurance, and a further 25 million are thought to have inadequate insurance.

The healthcare plans currently being considered in Congress would expand coverage to 97% of Americans, at a cost of some $US600 billion.

Obama defends healthcare plan

Mr Obama has defended his plans for health-care reform, saying he won't accept the status quo.

Addressing about 15,000 people in Minneapolis, Mr Obama warned Americans not to be tricked by the scare tactics of what he called "special interest groups" who were against universal care.

He promised to provide every American with affordable health insurance.