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.


Health Care and Emergency Room

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

April 29, 2009

Cry Wolf Quotes

Let us go on the record as saying we believe that this program should be temporary. Clearly, we share with the chairman [Senator Bob Dole] the belief that the general economy is not by tomorrow going to turn upside down, and during the time in which it takes to do that, this program should be in place. But it should indeed be temporary. It should have a limited scope. Indeed, we are not in a position in this country today to institute another Cadillac-care program when it is not necessary…Certainly we do not wish to see this become another entitlement program…”

Dr. James Sammons, of the American Medical Association, Joseph F. Boyle, M.D., Chairman of the Board of Trustees, American Medical Association, Executive Vice President and Harry Peterson, Director, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA

[A dramatic increase in regulation under the Obama administration is] threatening to short-circuit our recovery and undermine our long-term growth....More importantly , it is suffocating the entrepreneurial spirit so vital to America’s success.

Thomas Donohue, President of the Chamber of Commerce

Would socialized medicine lead to socialization of other phases of American life? Lenin thought so. He declared: 'Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the Socialist state.'

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

This program could destroy private initiative for our aged to protect themselves with insurance against the cost of illness….Presently, over 60 percent of our older citizens purchase hospital and medical insurance without Government assistance. This private effort would cease if Government benefits were given to all our older citizens.

Sen. Milward Simpson (R-WY).
08/08/1965 | Full Details | Law(s): Medicare

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.


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.