health care

Topics: Health economics, Universal health care, Health care Pages: 5 (1453 words) Published: December 17, 2013
U.S. efforts to achieve universal coverage began with Theodore Roosevelt, who had the support of progressive health care reformers in the 1912 election but was defeated. During the Great Depression in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Isidore Falk and Edgar Sydenstricter to help draft provisions to Roosevelt's pending Social Security legislation to include publicly funded health care programs. These reforms were attacked by the American Medical Association as well as state and local affiliates of the AMA as "compulsory health insurance." Roosevelt ended up removing the health care provisions from the bill in 1935. Fear of organized medicine's opposition to universal health care became standard for decades after the 1930s.

Following the second world war, Harry Truman proposed national health care, but this was defeated. However, in 1946 the National Mental Health Act was passed. The Medicare program was established by legislation signed into law on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are either age 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria.

In his 1974 State of the Union address, President Richard M. Nixon called for comprehensive health insurance. On February 6, 1974, he introduced the Comprehensive Health Insurance Act. Nixon's plan would have mandated employers to purchase health insurance for their employees, and provided a federal health plan, similar to Medicaid, that any American could join by paying on a sliding scale based on income.[7][8] The New York Daily News wrote that Ted Kennedy rejected the universal health coverage plan offered by Nixon because it wasn't everything he wanted it to be. Kennedy later realized it was a missed opportunity to make major progress toward his goal.

The Uninsured
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2008 there were 46.3 million people in the US (15.4% of the population) who were without health insurance for at least part of that year. The percentage of the non-elderly population who are uninsured has been generally increasing since the year 2000. •The causes of this rate of uninsurance remain a matter of political debate. Rising insurance costs have contributed to a trend in which fewer employers are offering health insurance, and many employers are managing costs by requiring higher employee contributions. Many of the uninsured are the working poor or are unemployed. Others are healthy and choose to go without it. Some have been rejected by insurance companies and are considered "uninsurable". Some are without health insurance only temporarily. Some choose faith-based alternatives to health insurance.

The Census Bureau reports that in 2007 nearly 37 million of the uninsured were employment-age adults (ages 18 to 64) and more than 27 million worked at least part time. Approximately 61% of the roughly 45 million uninsured live in households with incomes under $50,000 (13.5 million below $25,000 and 14.5 million at $25,000 to $49,000). And 38% live in households with incomes of $50,000 or more (8.5 million at $50,000 to $74,999 and 9.1 million at $75,000 or more).

Today,45.7 million Americans lack adequate medical care as a result of the economic recession and high unemployment rates plaguing the United States. As stated by the Census Bureau, people of Hispanic origin were the most affected by being uninsured; nearly a third of Hispanics lack health insurance. In 2004, about 33% of Latinos were uninsured as opposed to 10% of white, non-Latinos However, this rate decreased slightly from 2006 to 2007, from 15.3 to 14.8 million, a decrease of 2 percentage points (34.1% to 32.1%).

The health care system in the United States endorses race and class discrimination. According to Dr. Paul Farmer, this prejudice fuels structural violence, or “the avoidable disparity between the...
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