Health Care by Richard Nixon

In 1974, President Nixon stated that 25 million people, or 11.6% of a population of 214 million, had no health care insurance.

In response to Ted Kennedy’s proposal of a single payer type of national health insurance, Nixon countered with a “National Health Insurance Partnership Act aimed to preserve the private insurance market while requiring employers to either cover their workers or make payments into a government insurance fund.”
“Senator Kennedy’s attempt to fashion a compromise national health insurance bill that preserved a place for private insurers ended up pleasing no one.”
“In his first address to Congress after succeeding Nixon, President Gerald Ford urged lawmakers to approve a national health insurance bill but President Ford’s short tenure was dominated by inflation and other economic woes.” “Critical” by Tom Daschle, Scott Greenberger, Jeanne Lambrew, p.65, 66

In the “Last Lion” Ted Kennedy says he made a mistake by insisting on a single payer type system. 35 years later, President Obama is proposing something similar to what Nixon proposed in 1974.

In this digest of census data:
In 2007, “The Census says the number of uninsured fell from 47.0 million to 45.7 million.” That’s 15.3% of a population of 300 million. That’s bad.

However, “nearly 18 million of the uninsured lived in households with annual incomes above $50,000 and could likely afford health insurance.” Well, maybe. In a previous blog I noted Kaiser’s survey figures showing an average of $12K annually for a family plan. In 2007, CNN Money reported that the median mortgage payment was $1566 a month, or $19K. Add in property taxes, utilities, food, school and other costs for their kids and a family might have enough left over for health insurance if they didn’t have to pay income taxes.

“Up to 14 million uninsured adults and children qualified for government programs in 2004 but had not enrolled, according to the BlueCross BlueShield Association.” Public service messages during commercial breaks for American Idol might help spread the word on the availability of these programs – maybe.

“About 18 million 18-to-34-year olds are uninsured. Most of them are healthy and know they can pay incidental expenses out of pocket. Using hard-earned dollars to pay for health care they don’t expect to need is a low priority for them.” The boomers will outvote them.

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