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

Finally, we vigorously oppose proposals that would mandate a minimum benefit package. This requirement goes beyond the problem being addressed and infringes on the right of employers and employees to develop the kind of health care coverage they want and can afford at a time when employers and employees are being very creative in the design and are negotiating a very hard line with the providers and carriers of health care for more cost effective health care plans. Such a requirement would be particularly onerous to small businesses, which have been most severely affected by the recent recession.

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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

[The Medicare bill would] set up a health care program which served little or no necessary social purpose and which would be a direct, unwarranted and completely unfair intrusion in private enterprise.

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Dr. Clifford H. Keene, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.
04/01/1965 | Full Details | Law(s): Medicare

Reject the phony Patients' Bill of Rights….We don't have to continue down the path of socialized medical care, especially in America where free markets have provided so much for so many.

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)
08/02/2001 | Full Details | Law(s): Patient Bill of Rights

The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.

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Ronald Reagan, 1961.
01/01/1961 | 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.

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.