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

Many options already exist to provide unemployed persons with health insurance or protection against health care costs. These include: continuous coverage provisions in many employer-paid health care plans; the conversion privilege offered in many of these same plans: coverage under a spouse’s or other relative’s plan; and the social safety net, Medicaid.

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Jan Peter Ozga, Director of Health Care, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA

We have wandered too far off the path envisioned by our Founding Fathers of a government with few and defined powers. Government was supposed to be about doing only a few things; today government is about doing nearly everything. It has intruded in our business and personal lives in ways unimaginable to the wise men who gathered in Philadelphia in the sweltering summer of 1787. And to increasingly little positive benefit.

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Chamber of Commerce’s “This Way To Jobs Campaign.” 2010

Unemployment always lags behind the business cycle and is highest when recovery has begun. In such periods, when pessimism is pervasive, costly proposals are often advanced, such as public programs to create jobs, mortgage subsidies, and health insurance for the unemployed. These proposals always prove to be unnecessary since they never get fully started until recovery is going strong. Furthermore, such programs would increase the federal deficit at a time when it needs to be reduced. This would mean applying the wrong solutions, which would increase the deficit, abort the recovery, reinflate the economy and continue unacceptable high levels of employment.

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Jan Peter Ozga, Director of Health Care, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Testimony, Senate Finance Committee.
04/21/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): COBRA

Private insurance must be the vehicle for benefit coverage. This new program must not become enmeshed with Medicare and Medicaid. Caution must be expressed lest new troubles be created through expansion of an entitlement concept.

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

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.