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Healthcare Retrospect Part 1: All Americans Were Uninsured

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Healthcare Retrospect Part 1: All Americans Were Uninsured

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In part one of this three part series, John Dalton, Advisor Emeritus at BESLER Consulting, provides a look at the state of healthcare in America from the 1930s through the 1960s.

In part one of this three part series, John Dalton, Advisor Emeritus at BESLER Consulting, provides a look at the state of healthcare in America from the 1930s through the 1960s.

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Healthcare Retrospect Part 1: All Americans Were Uninsured

  1. 1. A Brief History of Health Care Reform Part 1: All Americans Were Uninsured John J. Dalton, FHFMA Senior Advisor Emeritus
  2. 2. 1930s • US economy struggles to recover from the Great Depression; Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President in 1932. • FDR follows cousin Teddy’s lead and proposes to include publicly funded health care programs as part of his Social Security legislation. • Roosevelt removes the health care provisions from the bill in 1935 in the face of strong opposition to “compulsory health insurance” from the American Medical Association and its state and local affiliates. • Groups of hospitals began offering insurance programs that soon evolve into not-for-profit Blue Cross plans.
  3. 3. 1940s • Kaiser Steel, Fontana, CA – first steel plant west of the Rockies. • WWII – wage and price controls; major labor shortages. • How to recruit workers to work in a sparsely populated desert? • Birth of employer-sponsored health care. • 1949 - President Harry Truman calls for universal health care as a part of his Fair Deal program, but drops it in the face of fierce opposition from the AMA et al.
  4. 4. 1950s • “I like Ike;” Dwight D. Eisenhower elected President in 1952. • Ends Korean “police action,” followed by eight years of relative peace, prosperity and the growth of the interstate highway system. • Collective bargaining agreements expand employer-based health care; “first dollar coverage” becomes commonplace with low deductibles and co-pays.
  5. 5. 1960s • Following President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, Lyndon B. Johnson aggressively advances the “New Frontier” agenda, gaining passage of the Civil Rights Act, the War on Poverty and access to healthcare for the poor and elderly. • Title XVIII – Medicare (named for Canada’s program of health care access for all) passes, assuring health care services for the elderly when they most need it; and • Title XIX – Medicaid enacted as a joint federal-state program to expand coverage for the working poor. • The first Medicare hospital claim is processed by Horizon Blue Cross and delivered to Jack Farmer, CFO of East Orange General Hospital; it made the five o’clock news.
  6. 6. Contact Information BESLER Consulting 3 Independence Way, Suite 201 Princeton, New Jersey 08540 Phone: 609.514.1400 Toll Free: 877.4BESLER Fax: 609.514.1410 www.besler.com

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