health care for illegal immigrants

Topics: Health care, Health insurance, Universal health care Pages: 10 (4439 words) Published: March 12, 2015
"Health Insurance." ​
Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection​
. Detroit: Gale, 2015. ​
Opposing Viewpoints in Context​

Web. 12 Mar. 2015. 
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The personal and social costs of going without ​
health insurance​
 can be staggering. Serious illness 
and catastrophicaccidents bankrupt thousands of families each year. The uncompensated medical costs  incurred by uninsuredpeople in the ​
United States​
 total more than $56 billion, according to the Kaiser Family  Foundation. The cost of thisuncompensated care is born by insured individuals, in the form of higher ​ health 
care costs​
 and insurance premiums,and by the government. Most people agree, therefore, that the health  care and insurance industry needs reform.What nobody can agree upon, however, is who should provide  the insurance, who should pay for it, and whethersuch insurance should be compulsory. The government,  private insurers, and employers who often bear the healthcare costs for their employees all have something  at stake in the debate over the uninsured, and they have allplayed a role in the changing healthcare  landscape of the twentieth and twenty­first centuries. 

The Idea of Universal Health Insurance 
Until the development of the ​
health insurance industry​
 in the twentieth century, all Americans—with the  exception ofsome veterans—could be counted among the uninsured. When people got sick or were injured,  they were expectedto pay for ​
medical care​
 themselves. In the early twentieth century, however, economists  began to notice that healthcare was not just a personal matter. They saw that it was intricately connected to  poverty​
 and other indicators ofsocial and economic inequality, and came up with a plan. Originally called  “sickness insurance,” this early version ofhealth insurance for the needy formed the core of a bill that aimed  to provide universal medical coverage and wentbefore Congress in 1915. 

World War I, however, was raging, and so was anti­German sentiment in the United States. Because  Germanyboasted a successful universal health plan, the opponents of the U.S. plan were able to link the  reform to thecountry’s enemy (the United States declared war on Germany in 1917), and the plan was  defeated. The notion ofuniversal health care was not seriously advanced again until the 1930s, when  President Franklin D. Roosevelt(1882–1945) considered making it part of a package of socially progressive  legislation called the New Deal thataimed to provide social and economic relief during the Great Depression.  While the New Deal established SocialSecurity, a publicly funded retirement plan, in 1935, the health­care 

component faced steep opposition from theAmerican Medical Association, which did not want the  government involved in its business. 

Two important developments did occur in the 1930s, however. The first private health insurer, Blue Cross,  wasfounded in 1929, and in 1935 the government established a health system, the Agricultural Workers  HealthAssociations, to provide ​

preventive medicine​
 and acute care to migrant workers who had left the “dust  bowl” of theMidwest to seek farm work in the West. Nevertheless, government­funded health care for those  who cannot afford itremained a fantasy of political progressives until the next wave of reform, in the 1960s. 

While a viable plan for truly universal health care—coverage for everyone—was still decades in the future, ...
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