Like most Americans, I have been following the news on the rollout of the latest health care law: The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. First there were the website issues, then the advertisements targeting young people, then the millions of Americans who had their insurance policies canceled, and then Obama kind of apologized, then he “let insurers restore canceled plans” according to a recent headline. I’d say it’s been a roller coaster, but that implies ups and downs. It feels more like careening deeper into an ever-widening black hole.
Having spent years focusing on science and research, I have to admit that I felt a bit blindsided by the new law. Unlike the typical slow, baby-step-march toward more and more laws, rules and regulations, Obamacare seemed like a new, radical, big-boy-leap into a lot more government controls on health care. But while browsing Obamacare news stories this week, I happened upon a slide show that showed me just how many and how long American presidents have been leaping down the road to government controlled healthcare. It was a real eye-opener.
The slide show is titled Health Care Reform Efforts throughout History, and it contains pictures and captions of American presidents who have pushed to expand government intervention in health care. The first photo features Roosevelt (the first Roosevelt).
It’s from 1912.
Here are some highlights: The second Roosevelt (FDR) wanted government health insurance but decided to “push for Social Security first.” Lyndon B. Johnson “arm-twisted” to have Medicare and Medicaid signed into law. Both Nixon and Carter pressed for health care subsidies and national health care, but other things intervened. George W. Bush was responsible for the biggest government expansion into health care this century (before the latest law, of course).
I guess I should’ve seen this Obamacare thing coming.
Obamacare is just the latest in a long line of laws aimed at eroding freedom, tying the hands of doctors, and crushing the private health care market for the sake of a supposed public good. Standing behind a podium at his latest press conference, Obama spoke about not wanting to return to the “old individual market,” but the truth is there hasn’t been much individualism in health care for a long time.
Obama also said that none of the problems with the rollout should be used as an excuse to go back to the way things were, back into a “broken system.”