The Obama speech on health care reform and our country

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Last week was particularly interesting. My facebook updates were on-fire again with ooops and aaahhs for another great Obama speech.

…yes it was a great speech. A friend of mine asked me to change my status to an Obama quote “No one should die because they can’t afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.”

This has got me really thinking. Before the financial crisis, healthcare was probably the single largest domestic issue in American politics. The biggest issue? It can’t be!

But then I thought of sense of loss I felt at the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. I am still not sure why I (and many in my generation) feel such an intense affinity to the Kennedys. I have been following the politics of Senator Kennedy for quite a while, especially the pride he took in public service. I have listened to him speak and wondered when we will ever get a senator in our Senate with the passion, knowledge and ability to articulate as Senator Kenney…..I digress. I remember one of his favorite quotes: This is the cause of my life. For four decades I have carried this cause—from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society.

Can healthcare really be that important in the politics of the USA?

I remember my early lectures on health systems and the evolution of the NHS. I remember reading with intrigue about the attempt at creating an “internal market” in the UK’s NHS in 1990s. Its big idea was the creation of a market so that some parts of the organisation would become providers selling their services to the others, the purchasers. I remember the lecturer enthusiastically pointing out the peoples’ opposition to Margaret Thatcher’s plans for the NHS contributed significantly to her fall from power. Again I wondered…

Can healthcare really be that important in the politics of the UK?

Many of you might know that we in Nigeria have had  National Health Bill stuck with in our houses of parliament for over 5 years. Our Senators have been to Ghana and back to discuss the Bill and finally passed it in 2008. In February 2009, without a wimper the the bill was passed by the House of Representatives in 2009. I gather both houses have now passed the bills and it is now waiting for Mr President to sign it into an ACT. Do you hear any speeches? The irony of our situation is that our president is widely believed to have significant health challenges of his own!

Why is there such a lack of any popular momentum around the National Health Bill? How can we be so indifferent to how our health system is managed.

Why is HEALTH not on the agenda in Nigerian politics?

http://www.nigeriahealthwatch.com/

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (www.epiafric.com), which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. The answer is clear. Our senators and the rest still get audience from the rest of the world where they go to seek medicare for themselves and their families. Most of the are still eager to use it as holiday to have a taste of development which they themselves unlike the Kennedys feel unable to initiate in their own country even as senators or whatever.

  2. The answer is clear. Our senators and the rest still get audience from the rest of the world where the go to seek Medicare for themselves and their families. Most of them still use that as holiday to have a taste of development which they themselves unlike the Kennedys feel unable to initiate in their on country even as senators or whatever.

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