According to 2008 U.S Census Bureau data approximately 47 million or 15.8 percent of the U.S. population, were without health insurance during 2006 — a 4.9 percent increase. In 2005, census figures showed that 44.8 million people, or about 15.3 percent of the population, lacked health insurance coverage. According to a report released by the Institute on Medicine, the average cost of family health-care coverage more than doubled from 1999 to 2008, from $1,543 to $3,354.
Based upon these realities, presidential candidate Obama made health-care reform a central theme of his campaign. He promised to achieve universal health care in his first term and to cut the average family's health care health-care costs by $2,500. In the on-going health care reform debate it is very important to remember that as a result of this and other campaign promises, President Obama won the 2008 presidential election with 53% of the popular vote to Senator McCain’s 46% and 68% of the Electoral College vote to McCain’s 36%.
According to a New York Times/CBS News poll taken in June, 85 percent of respondents said the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt. According to a June poll conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute 83 percent of respondents favored and only 14 percent opposed “creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase.” These numbers indicate that health care reform is very important to the American people.