For those who proclaim that we are moving too fast on national health insurance, how much longer should we wait? It has been 64 years since it was first considered.
Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)
President Truman calls for national health insurance in a message to Congress in November. A revised Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill, asking for national health insurance, is introduced.
The Taft-Smith-Ball bill to provide grants to states for medical aid to the poor is introduced in Congress. No action is taken.
President Truman again sends a message to Congress calling for national health insurance.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
The Eisenhower administration supports a reinsurance bill under which the federal government would subsidize partial payment of premiums for low-income individuals.
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
Newly inaugurated President Kennedy sends a special message to Congress on health.
The King-Anderson bill, an early version of Medicare, is introduced in Congress. It does not progress beyond hearings in the Ways and Means Committee.
An attempt is made to attach a health insurance amendment (the Anderson-Javits amendment) to a welfare bill in the Senate. The amendment is tabled.
President Kennedy sends a special message to Congress on the problems of the aged.
The King-Anderson bill (Medicare) is again introduced in Congress.
President Johnson sends a special message to Congress on the health of the nation; in it he advocates Medicare.
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
The Nixon Administration proposes a National Health Insurance Standard Act that consists of two major parts. One part is a government-prescribed minimum amount of private medical and hospital insurance coverage financed by mandatory employer and employee payment of premiums, with a government subsidy of premium payments in specific situations. The other part is a sliding scale of government-paid benefits for families with earnings less than $5,000 per year.
Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
New health system agencies (HSAs), set up under PL 93-641 to replace the comprehensive health-planning agencies, are required to develop plans for health-resource and health-status needs for the population residing within each of 205 designated health-service areas, based on specified national goals. The legislation prompts wide-scale development of state certificate-of-need programs.
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
President Carter backs national health insurance when elected to the White House, but other issues soon supersede. AHA delegates endorse universal health insurance in principle, but note that “no single way of organizing medical and health care services can be developed for application to all communities, and the system should build on the strengths of its diversity and adaptability.”
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Freedom of choice waivers (1915b) and home and community-based care waivers (1915c) are established in Medicaid; states are required to provide additional payments to hospitals treating a disproportionate share of low-income patients (i.e., DSH hospitals).
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 includes provisions to slow the growth in Medicare spending, including a change that results in an increase in the inpatient hospital deductible.
George Bush (1989-1993)
The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 is repealed after higher-income senior citizens protest new premiums. A new Medicare fee schedule for physician and other professional services, a resource-based relative value scale, replaces charge-based payments. Limits are placed on physician balance billing above the new fee schedule. Physicians are prohibited from referring Medicare patients to clinical laboratories in which their physicians, or physicians' family members, have a financial interest.
The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Repeal Act of 1989 retracts the major provisions of the 1988 Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act, including both the outpatient drug benefit and the out-of-pocket limit. QMB benefits are retained.
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
The Clinton administration launches an ill-fated attempt at sweeping health care reform. A legislative proposal, delivered to Congress six months after it was promised, is torn apart by lawmakers unwilling to compromise.
George W. Bush (2001-2009)
The MedicarePrescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act makes the most significant changes to Medicare since the program began. MMA creates a prescription drug discount card until 2006, allows for competition among health plans to foster innovation and flexibility in coverage, covers new preventive benefits and makes numerous other changes. In 2006, the new voluntary Part D outpatient prescription drug benefit will be available to beneficiaries from private drug plans as well as Medicare Advantage plans. Employers who provide retiree drug coverage comparable to Medicare’s will be eligible for a federal subsidy.