America toasts its good health

05.02.42: CHELSEA CLINTON'S husband, Aryeh Nakashima, has succeeded where past presidents have failed - including Chelsea herself and her father.

He has introduced a national health service into America.

The state health benefits package will for the first time give all Americans access to free basic medical care, with the only charges being those for services deemed experimental or non-essential.

Money will also go towards improving childcare and education, for children and for adults, as well as providing a safety net for the destitute and the elderly. The degree of congressional support for the programme shocked the pollsters, though it was they who had been first to register a change in public attitudes. This was brought about by the 2033 cholera and TB epidemics, in which thousands died because they could not afford medicine, and by concerns over illiteracy, which, at 40%, is the highest in the developed world. However, experts predicted the campaigns launched by the American Medical Association and the insurance industry would play on America's mistrust of socialised health care, while Europe's trend away from state medical cover suggested it hadn't worked. But, in the run-up to the vote, Americans en masse e-mailed congressmen, insisting they pass the bill - or else. The decisive factor was an ad featuring a middle-aged man bowed over a stack of papers, which had the caption 'It's not the economy, stupid, it's the doctors' bills.' MF