After a prolonged debate in which America's health-care system was unfavorably compared to other countries' plans, President Obama has signed the bill designed to make those comparisons more favorable. How is this development playing overseas? (Watch Europeans debate the health-care bill.) Here's a range of reactions from newspapers around the globe:
Obama's victory reinforces his stature as a world leader
The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)
The world "looks to strong leadership from the United States" in times of economic turmoil, says the South China Morning Post in an editorial. So, while "Obama's narrow victory may have left his country deeply polarized," it has "enhanced his standing" around the globe, allowing him to effectively address the still-struggling world economy.
"Obama has to find a remedy for the economy"
This saga has distracted America during a period of global crisis
Der Spiegel (Germany)
During the furious debate, "every other issue"—from Afghanistan to Iran—"has become a sideshow" for American politicians, says Gregor Peter Schmitz in Der Spiegel. This "realization should not spoil the celebration over health care for the Americans themselves. But the rest of the world won't be joining the party quite so enthusiastically."
"U.S. health care—good for America, a burden for the world?"
Perhaps Canada will stop being the target of inaccurate criticism
The Vancouver Sun (Canada)
"For Canadians," says the Vancouver Sun in an editorial, the "fallout ... should be positive." First, our health-care system "should no longer be drawn into the debate." And with the issue resolved in America, Canada's "own health-care debate" can continue with "a clear delineation between the issues we face here and those facing the far different and less efficient American system."
"Obama's health bill should also benefit Canada"
Obama has behaved like a 'dictator'
The Telegraph (U.K.)
Without a "single Republican" supporting health-care reform, this "bitterly fought legislative campaign" proves that President Obama is "the most partisan president in living memory," says Toby Young in the London Telegraph. By using "every stick at his disposal to beat his parliamentary party into submission," Obama has become an "elected dictator. ... I cannot see a freedom-loving people putting up with such a figure for long."
"Obama's health-care reform shows that America has become an 'elective dictatorship'
Obama is a hero
"[It's] odd that a country that thought nothing of pounding the living daylights out of a defenseless, innocent Yugoslavia, then Iraq and Afghanistan ... was deathly afraid of providing a vital social guarantee for U.S. citizens," says the Pravda editorial board. Obama is a "hero" for standing up to America’s "corporate elite" and "charlatans" who protested that "health-care reform was tantamount to … communism”—and for addressing the shame of the “18,000 Americans [who] die for lack of health care every year.”