Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection
. Detroit: Gale, 2015.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context
Web. 12 Mar. 2015.
http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ReferenceDetailsPage/ReferenceDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&windowstate =normal&contentModules=&displayquery=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Reference&limiter=&currPage=&disabl eHighlighting=true&displayGroups=&sortBy=&search_within_results=&p=OVIC&action=e&catId=GALE%7CAAA0000 36203&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CPC3010999042&source=Bookmark&u=mlin_m_medhs&jsid= 1f0fcac64b109149eb68a9444e06b42f
The personal and social costs of going without
can be staggering. Serious illness
and catastrophicaccidents bankrupt thousands of families each year. The uncompensated medical costs incurred by uninsuredpeople in the
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
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
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
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, ...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document