The Very Short History of American Health Care

One aspect of American history that is pretty simple to understand is the history of government-sponsored health care. The short and long answers are the same, there hasn’t been much. There was an early program for seaman, another for impoverished former slaves, a little attention given to some mentally ill people, and that’s about it until Medicare and Medicaid were passed in 1965.  There were earlier attempts and while progressive health care programs became realities elsewhere in the world the doctors of America, and their American Medical Association were vehemently opposed to what they saw as insidious socialism.

After decades of discussion and consistent failure, the Clintons decided the time had come when Bill took the White House and appointed his wife Hillary to head up a plan that would mandate enrollment, create subsidies to make it affordable for all, and create a system that ensured that every permanent American resident would receive health care.

The short story here is that the GOP saw it as a win for the Democrats, making them appear as the champions of the working people. So they loaded their weapons and fought back with screams of socialism and that the way to best protect the working people was to reduce the size of government. The Clinton plan fell from the sky like a bag of weighted burning feces.

Of course, in the meantime, progressive health care programs continued to become realities in other nations and American’s continued to experience bankrupting medical expense. All the good overseas statistics continued to get better as American facts and figures slide deeper into the dumpster.

And then, along came Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Newly elected Barack Obama and his Democratic-controlled Congress decided their opening move was going to be a real, affordable, health care program for the American people. That was in 2009 and two years later, with zero support or input from the GOP, the ACA became law.

Since then the GOP has remained adamantly opposed to the ACA and has used their control of Congress and the courts to fight it in every way possible. While the ACA was never perfect the GOP never made any attempts to work in a bipartisan way to correct what was wrong. They just kept attacking while promising that they had a plan that would provide Americans with a much better health care system.

The reality is that the GOP never spent a calory’s worth of energy developing such a plan and never solicited bipartisan input from the Democrats. One thing I can claim about American history is that little of worth is ever created without a bipartisan agreement. Such will remain true of health care and until both parties decide to set aside their selfish purposes and work for the betterment of the nation, working people will continue to die without reason.

So, here we are nearing the first of April, 2019 and the issue of the ACA brought a historic victory for Democrats in the US House of Representatives. The GOP is all its mysterious ways, reacted by threatening to ask their new conservative Supreme Court to totally declare Obamacare unconstitutional and erase it from the books. In its place, they still claim to have a plan. Well, they don’t have a plan and if they did, there’s a huge problem.

The huge problem is, the Democrats now control the House and nothing can happen, no plan can be enacted, without the approval of the people who control the money,  the House Democrats. If any agreement exists it’s that the Democrats won the House because of their continued support of the ever popular ACA. The need for the ACA and its popularity isn’t going away and another election isn’t that far away. It sure seems like the GOP and their pied piper are headed for the cliff’s edge if they continue to ignore and refuse the American majority.

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Mary Walker
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Mary Walker

Very true, Larry. Question: do you think GOP’s dislike of Hillary began when she came up with a healthcare plan? As I recall, GOP came down on her and, of course Bill, like they had committed a crime. Probably they did -because any health care plan that cuts out their or threatens their payoffs will not be passed. Also, am I remembering incorrectly when ACA was first put on floor by Obama and the Dems, the GOP watered it down from original version. Dems trying to work with the GOP went ahead with that version to at least get it… Read more »