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Being sick in America

The United States is the only country in the industrialised world without universal health coverage. The result: 47 million Americans are uninsured. If they fall ill, they can count on no one but themselves.

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US President Barack Obama is fighting for health-care reform that would provide health insurance for every American. But Democrats have been trying — and failing — to overhaul the system for more than 75 years.

The current system leaves 15 percent of Americans uninsured and countless more under-insured.

Perhaps surprisingly, the uninsured are not always the unemployed. Many small-business owners and employees are in charge of getting their own health insurance. They are left to deal with private insurance companies which often refuse to insure patients who have serious illnesses.

According to America’s National Academy of Sciences, 18,000 Americans die each year due to lack of health insurance.

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