Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Long History of Healthcare and Questions Answered

Marketplace's Tess Vigeland talked to a healthcare historian. Does this sound familiar?
Opponents of the reform effort came up with a strategy. This was in the years leading up to World War 1. America was about to go battle with Germany. And Germany had been the first country to pass universal health care.

DUBIN: And they used this anti-German feeling as a way to attack compulsory health care as some insidious plot to undermine the American government and the American people.

WARNER: So they called them the dirtiest word you can call an American, which is a European.

DUBIN: Right, and only in this time, there were various, "Germans," and "Prussians" and "doing the Emperor of Germany's work."

This became the pattern. When reformers tried to restart the debate in the 20s, they were called socialists.

DUBIN: Right and in Harry Truman's era they called them Bolsheviks and communists. And that's the whole history of health care reform is, champions, they lose, someone picks it up again, champions it, they lose.

Until the day comes when they win. Read more at Marketplace
Healthcare has a long and tangled history of reformers trying to get it done, and alas, it is done. Well, first steps anyway. It's interesting that those who have tried to reform healthcare have been called names throughout history. Some people will always stand in the way of change because change is scary.
In addition to the history of healthcare, this episode of Marketplace also had some more details on the new healthcare law and how it affects you, including information on the exchanges that we've heard so much about. It's becoming more apparent to me that this really is a big deal, even beyond its historical relevance. Listen to the whole program: