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National Health Care: Learning From Our Past

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Although the debate over a national health care reform is highly publicized at this time, the truth of the matter is that this debate has been a controversial topic in United States politics for over a century. According to the writers at Fox News, Theodore Roosevelt campaigned to start a national health care program in 1912 followed by President Harry Truman’s attempt in 1945 (“The history of the US health care reform effort,” 2012). Finally, in 1965, after John F. Kennedy failed in 1960 to achieve a health care program for the elderly, Lyndon B. Johnson managed the “creation of two landmark government health programs: Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor” (“The history of the US health care reform effort,” 2012). Since this milestone, the federal government has consistently attempted to expand the national health care program into the modern day Affordable Care Act.

Much of this expansion came in the form of government regulations in regards to private employers’ health insurance. For example, in 1986, President Reagan sign COBRA which required companies to allow former employees to stay on the insurance for a period of eighteen months after they had left the job (“The history of the US health care reform effort,” 2012). Although this protected recently unemployed Americans, there was an alarming number of marginal households who were employed with salaries just above the level that would allow them to receive Medicaid. In 1997, President Clinton signed into effect a legislation that would offer assistance to these families as well (“The history of the US health care reform effort,” 2012).

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All of this progression has brought America to the current debate that is in relation to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On one side of the debate are those who state that this onset of governmental control in unjustified and nondemocratic. On the opposite position are those who state that the ACA is helping uninsured people with chronic conditions such as depression and other serious mental health conditions obtain sustainable and consistent coverage” (Miller, 2014, pg. 3). Regardless of the debate or the position that an individual takes on this issue, the ACA was signed into effect in 2010 and held up by the Supreme Court in 2012 by a 5-4 ruling (“The history of the US health care reform effort,” 2012).Just as the previous progressive movements were once in question, the ACA will go into the history books as another step towards health care reform.

    References
  • The history of the US health care reform effort. (2012). Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/27/us-health-care-reform-efforts-through-histor y/.
  • Miller, J. E. (2014, December-January). Let’s end sleepless nights for underinsured and uninsured–help make healthcare reform work. The Advocate [American Mental Health Counselors Association], 36(10), 3+.