Health Care Reform Wayback – A Brief History of Health Care Reform in the USA

Is Health Care Reform New?

As somebody who is very interested in the progress of health care reform as a taxpayer, private consumer of health insurance and services, and as a professional, I have been trying to follow the current health reform debates. I am getting a little frustrated with the lack of progress on either side of the aisle, and also by some of the knee jerk reactions by politicians and their groupies.. You would think that the current administration, and its political adversaries, had just invented health reform or the cries of outrage that sound against it.

I decided to do my best to outline some of the highlights of the health reform attempts, failures, and progress in the past 100 years or so. I am not a professional historian, by any means, so some may feel as if I left out important things or took them out of context. I am trying to be balanced, but take all the blame if I neglected something you feel is important.

Teddy Roosevelt In the 1910’s

Teddy Roosevelt ran on a very progressive platform in the early part of the last century. His campaign promises for 1912 included protection for workers safety on the job women’s right to vote, and a national health care program. He was president of the United States, by the way, from 1901 – 1909. But he lost the election of 1912 to Woodrow Wilson. It is interesting to note that this Roosevelt was a Republic. Wilson was the Democrat. Never assume that American party politics are set in stone.

Early Models of Current Health Insurance and Cries of Socialism

In 1929, Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas came up with a pre-paid program for a large areal teacher’s union. This is considered one of the earliest models of health insurance. Now here’s the irony. A few years later, an Oklahoma doctor formed a farmer’s association with a pre-paid plan. Members of the association would pay into the plan, and then get services covered. The American Medical Association called this doctor’s plan socialism!

Despite this, pre-paid hospital and doctor plans continued to grow in popularity around the US. However, they usually left out the unemployed and elderly.

The New Deal in the 1930’s

Another Roosevelt, FDR, also wanted to implement national health reform. He wanted to include it as part of social security legislation. That did not work out, but even Truman wanted to set up a national fund. for health care. He figured everybody could pay in, like we do for social security, and then it could make sure that people’s most severe health needs were met. All of this was left out of the New Deal, and the AMA continued to criticize it as socialism.

Post World War II

By the end of the second world war, it became a lot more obvious that there was a big gap between health care costs and what mos people could afford. Congress did pass a bill to build a lot more hospitals. They also required hospitals to provide charity care. They had a clause to forbid discrimination on race, religion, etc. But they did allow separate but equal care, which did not always turn out to provide equal care to everybody.

In the 1950’s, labor unions began adding health benefits to their collective bargaining agreements. This really formed the basis for the group health insurance many people enjoy at work today. So group health plans became more popular, and in 1954, Congress voted to make this benefits tax-exempt.

The 1960’s

JFK fought hard for national health care, but again he was met with cries of socialism. But Medicare and Medicaid, regarded as American institutions now, did emerge despite this. Medicare is the US national health plan for seniors and disabled people. Medicaid is the national health plan for very poor people.

Despite the fact that millions of Americans had heath insurance coverage for the first time, in the 1960’s, health care spending and costs were beginning to rise.

The 1970’s – Nixon and Carter

President Nixon, a Republican, worked for health reform. He proposed a bill that would require employers to provide minimum health insurance coverage. Under his administration, money was allocated for the development of HMOs and managed care to contain costs.

Carter ran for president, and national health care was a large part of his campaign platform. Even though he won, the severe recession put these plans on hold.

The 1980’s and COBRA

COBRA is the national law that requires some employers to extend group health benefits to terminated employees for several months.

The 1990’s and The Clintons

Probably the most famous previous attempt to dramatically reform health care was under President Clinton. Hillary Clinton, then first lady, spear headed this work. You will probably not be surprised to learn that political critics of the pan delighted in calling it socialism. Experts contend that the plan failed because of partisan politics on both sides. The drug and insurance companies, and the American Medical Association (AMA) also spent a lot of time and money getting the Health Security Act defeated.

When Health Is Not Enough: How To Engage Your Emotions!

In everyday conversing about Health, we clearly understand Health to mean Physical Health, because only Physical Health is measured and expressed by scientific consensus. Nevertheless Physical Health is not only just a fractional aspect of the Well-being of an Individual, symptoms of Illness are commonly the final exposition of a an earlier event that caused a disturbance in the body’s Energy Field. This is an essential consideration in the realm of Preventive-care, or Sustainable Health where effectiveness is proportional to its earlier detection. Consequently, what is now called “Preventive-care” does not mean forestalling Illness per se, as it is limited to analyzing Physical Health and therefore should be more aptly termed “early Symptoms detection”. In order to preempt disease and keep the Individual healthy, we need to extend our Health Analysis to all its 6 elements:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Emotional Health
  • Spiritual Health
  • Social Health
  • Intellectual Health

We have already analyzed the first 2 elements: Physical Health (When Healthy Is Not Enough: Discover The 6 Elements You Can’t Be Missing!), and Mental Health (When Healthy Is Not Enough: How To Engage Your Emotions!) Now the question is: How is Emotional Health different from Mental Health, are they not both the same? At least many dictionaries define Emotional and Mental Health as the same thing, and in everyday parlance both terms are – wrongly – used interchangeably.

Emotional versus Mental Health Even though the dictionaries are missing the distinction in definition, the significant difference evolves when we define the terms emotions and mind.. Emotion roots in the French word for move or excite, implying that emotions are spontaneous and ever-changing. Emotions are the person-specific non-conscious reactions to a situation that may result in feelings, such as anger, joy, sadness, love or hate. Expressed emotions typically include crying, yelling, laughing, shouting, trembling, stumbling or even fainting. In contrast, Mind can be defined as: that which is responsible for one’s thoughts and feelings; the seat of the faculty of reason; The terms are also distinctive in our daily lives and how we are perceived in society. We can say: I changed my mind, while saying: I changed my emotions, doesn’t make sense, because emotions happen, they are not made. Many definitions purport that Emotions are part of Mental Health while the opposite does not apply. However, in the context of assessment of the Whole Health of a person, the Holistic Health, we have to analyze Emotions as a separate element. It is well known that Emotions may have a profound effect on the Individual’s Mental Health and eventually manifest in Physical Illness.

For example, my own father was, what people call a very emotional person. He showed frequent outbursts of extreme anger to a degree that it threatened his job. Aware and afraid of the situation, he stifled his emotions. But stifling didn’t change his choleric nature and he eventually came down with a massive heart attack from which he never recovered. He was never diagnosed with a Mental Health problem, but he clearly had an Emotional problem with Anger Management. It follows that Emotions can also have a positive effect on the Individual’s Well-being. A Lady Doctor friend of mine contracted a very aggressive form of Leukemia and her chances of survival were very low. But she has a personality characterized by very positive emotions, always laughing and charming with great charisma. During a lecture she fainted and was brought to the ICU, but before her colleges could rush to the site, she had disappeared. This happened many times for many years and today she is still alive – as a medical miracle. But she had such positive Emotions that beckoned to everyone: I absolutely refuse to give up!

This example portrays that one can change mood simply by changing the thinking. The brain controls both mood and thoughts so it makes sense that what one thinks about can change emotions. Nevertheless, this is not the whole picture, for that we have to consider the other elements that play a role, such as Spiritual Health which will be analyzed in the article: When Healthy Is Not Enough: Unleash The Power Of Belief!