9 Presidents Who Had a Huge Impact on Your Health - Alpha Male Nation
History of health care reform in the United States
Your health is your responsibility! You are the one who should care for it, keep an eye for any sign of illness, and take measures to receive adequate treatment. However, politics often dictates the type of treatments and services you have access to, and for what price.
The best proof for that is the controversial Obamacare plan. Did you know that it took close to a century of plans and healthcare reform attempts to make universal health coverage a reality? Who were the presidents who helped shape the healthcare system and prepared the ground for what we have today?
1. Theodore Roosevelt
The former Republican served between 1901 and 1909 and founded the Bull Moose Party to run again. His political campaign focused on the need for a solid national health insurance program, arguing that a country’s strength depends on the health of its people.
Although his efforts didn’t bring about any immediate laws to support the nationwide coverage he promoted, he raised awareness and gave public health programs fans some momentum.
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt
A distant cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt became president in a period when many Americans did not have access to any kind of medical services due to the Great Depression. He militated for creating a national, publicly funded health insurance program, but his opponents ridiculed his ideas and he abandoned them in favor of Social Security.
However, by controlling wages and prices, he turned health insurance into a workplace perk more and more companies began to offer in order to attract a workforce.
3. Harry S. Truman
In 1948, as he became president, Harry Truman supported the creation of a national healthcare insurance program to benefit those who paid voluntary fees. The American Medical Association denounced his ideas as “socialized medicine”, and his efforts in this direction remained in vain, rejected by Congressmen fearing that patients would no longer be separated by race and skin color.
However, Truman was also behind the Hill-Burton Act that the Congress passed in 1946, prioritizing the expansion and construction of hospitals. When the IRS passed new tax laws that allowed companies to deduct the costs of their employee’s health insurance, many more Americans began to benefit from healthcare insurance coverage.
4. John F. Kennedy
A new debate over the importance of medical health coverage for the elders took place in the 1960s. John Kennedy adopted the plan for the elders’ medical coverage from health reformers and turned it into a major point in his political campaign.
Unfortunately, in 1962, the southern Democrats in the House Ways and Means Committee opposed the Medicare-supporting legislation he endorsed as president, even though Chairman Wilbur Mills had passed the Kerr-Mills Act in 1960. This act foresaw giving grants to federal states to cover healthcare services for the poor elders. However, by 1963, only 28 states agreed to participate, many of which had budgeted insufficiently.
5. Lyndon B. Johnson
Following on Kennedy’s footprints, Lyndon Johnson made Medicare his priority in his presidential campaign and was more successful. Besides being elected president, he also relied on a liberal Democratic majority in both Congress houses.
He pressed Wilbur Mills, the southern Democrat chairing the House Ways and Means Committee, to craft the legislation for Medicare and Medicaid, thus controlling opposition. The two programs became part of the Social Security Act signed by President Johnson in 1965.
6. Richard Nixon
He was the one to put together a Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan that supported universal health coverage. He wanted companies to cover their employees, and help the others buy private insurance through federal subsidies. His opponents disagreed and came with their own plan.
Although Nixon’s plan received consistent support on several fronts, interest in it faded when the Watergate scandal broke, and Nixon had to resign. These disagreements continued until the Watergate scandal broke, and universal health care faded away in the ensuing uproar.
7. Ronald Reagan
In 1986, Reagan signed COBRA, an act that requests employers to keep former workers on their health plans for periods ranging from 18 to 36 months, according to the case. The worker is usually the one bearing the costs, although companies can assume this responsibility as part of their let-go packages.
Although the financial responsibility falls on the worker’s shoulders, the act could benefit those with health problems, who would have to pay far more for treatment as uninsured. It also covers their spouses, even in the case of divorce.
8. Bill Clinton
Together with the first lady, he developed a plan of nearly 1,400 pages that required businesses to ensure their employees and mandated universal coverage. The Senate blocked their plan. In 1997, the president signed legislation to create a state-federal program providing coverage for children in modest means families that do not qualify for Medicaid.
It took him an entire year to come up with a legislative proposal that imposed universal coverage, requiring employers to cover their workforce and insurance companies to accept requests even from people with pre-existing conditions, and providing assistance to those who cannot afford insurance.
His plan received approval on March 23, 2010, extending coverage to nearly 30 million of uninsured Americans. Now that Obama is no longer president, the fate of his plan is still uncertain. Donald Trump announced several times that he would “repeal and replace” it, but it is still unclear what that means.