Health Care

Health Care

The history of American health care is exceptional, and not in a positive way. Every other developed nation has a cradle to the grave universal health care system. Several presidents attempted to provide universal healthcare, but every attempt was defeated by industry and conservative opposition. Several significant gains were made over the years: Medicare provided access to coverage for the elderly, Medicaid for the very poor, SCHIP for children, and COBRA for the previously insured unemployed. But it wasn’t until 2010 that a universal health care bill, the Affordable Care Act, was finally signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Commentary

Health Care and Emergency Room

Crying Wolf -- The Same Old Song on Health Care and Unions

April 29, 2009

Cry Wolf Quotes

A piece of the roof came off with Medicare. Now the whole structure [of American Medicine] is threatened as we knew it would be sooner or later….Some people think that people are entitled to health care as a matter of right, whether they work or not. This is just as absurd as saying that food, clothes, and shelter are a matter of right- one step further than that is a revolutionary system bordering on communism.

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Dr. Edward R. Annis, former President of AMA, The New York Times, referring to Senator Edward Kennedy's push for universal healthcare.
10/14/1971 | Full Details | Law(s): Universal Healthcare

[Obama’s budget] will move us even further down the path to universal health care. We are treading dangerously close to bureaucratic intervention in the exam room and I will not support any measure that leads to socialized medicine.

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Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
02/26/2010 | Full Details | Law(s): Affordable Care Act

...we remind you that unemployment compensation is not a poverty program. Some claimants have substantial assets. For example, 1979 income tax records reflect more than 1 ½ million tax returns reporting adjusted gross income of $20,000 or higher and also receipt of unemployment compensation. Moreover, when unemployment benefits are combined with other income-support programs, some claimants actually come out better than when they were working.

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Eric J. Oxfield, Employee Benefits Attorney, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA

A Government agency proposes to: Collect the tax. Control the money. Set the rules. Determine the services. Direct doctor and patient participation. Dominate every citizen’s medical affairs.

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AMA pamphlet (Your Medical Program…Compulsory-or Voluntary?) from the AMA’s public relations campaign against health care reform. 1949.

Backgrounders & Briefs

Marine Hospitals in the 18th Century

The Marine Hospital Act of 1798 was the federal government’s first foray into public medicine.  The arguments against the policy sound awfully familiar.

The Work, Family and Equity Index: How Does the United States Measure Up?

The Project on Global Working Families is a study that measures worldwide social safety nets.

Resources

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is a progressive think tank that concentrates on social and economic policy, both domestic and international.

University of California-Berkeley Labor Center carries out research on labor and workplace-related issues.

Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity is a think tank devoted to food policy in the United States.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research is a prominent think tank that is largely focused on American women's issues. This covers everything from pay equity to welfare reform to domestic violence.