Universal Healthcare: a Cure for America

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Universal Health Care:
A Cure for America
by
Katherine Langdon

Submitted in partial fulfillment for the course
NSG 316: Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice
The University of Southern Mississippi
College of Nursing
Gulf Coast Campus
Long Beach, MS

Fall 2013

Universal Health Care:
A Cure for All American Citizens
The prominence of universal health care talk in politics and the public discourse since President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was first suggested shows how divisive an issue it is (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), 42 U.S.C. § 300gg–11 (2010). For this reason it is crucial to understand what the disagreements are with universal health care and to understand more precisely what it effectively means. Firstly, by looking at the history of health care in America, the current debate can be seen within the broader historical context. Secondly, the state of American health care will be compared to other, and the universalities among each will be shown. Finally, universal healthcare will demonstrate its efficacy from financial, political and human rights perspectives. This all suggests a conclusion that universal healthcare is a positive thing for America. History of Health Care in America

The history of health care in the United States has been a gradual shift toward an increasing belief in universally available health care. The following section will discuss the history of health care in America starting with the Progressive Era, moving on to Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”, continuing with former president Bill Clinton’s attempt to reform American health care, and finally the current situation with the Obama Administration’s support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Progressive Era

During the Progressive Era, from around 1900-1917, America was making more powerful attempts to bring reforms to all aspects of society in order to develop social standards for the citizens of the working class (Palmer, 1999). No developed programs were available to help those in need of health care, neither private sector nor government-funded. In 1915, the American Association of Labor Legislation drafted a model bill for health insurance. This bill was imperfect, but it was a significant shift toward health care coverage for American citizens. There were restrictions to coverage, such as limitations for the working class, and income restrictions to those who made less than $1,200 a year. Initially the American Medical Association favored the passing of this bill, but when other medical organizations began opposing the bill state by state, the AMA no longer supported it and ultimately the progressive reformers failed (Palmer, 1999). The Great Society

Following the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson took office and assumed the burden of the many serious social issues in America, including putting an end to segregation, an end to poverty in America, and to improve our national health care. At the time he took office many Americans had no health insurance coverage, including the elderly. Those living in poverty were not able to afford health insurance virtually at all, and were unable to attain health care unless they were in dire need (Califano Jr., 1999). Upon reelection in 1964, Johnson made great strives to improve the nation by implementing a program known as the Great Society. Its goal was to end poverty and the struggles that come along with it, such as not being able to afford health care.

With Johnson’s Great Society, some great reforms took place. The implementation of Medicare occurred in 1965, and since then 79 million Americans have taken advantage of this program (Califano Jr., 1999). Along with Medicare, community health centers were created under the Great Society. These were to serve as places for medical care for those who cannot afford it. The...
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