Our Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness

Our country is founded on essential rights: we are created equal; we all have equal protection under the law and we all have  the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Health care is essential to those rights

We have national standards for banking, transportation and insurance solvency. National standards for health care have failed since 1869 and  the original Supreme Court ruling that  health care is not commerce.  The Affordable Care Act created national benefit standards for the first time, except for Medicare and Medicaid.

Fear of government interference in costs and benefits drives opposition to national standards. Briefly:


  • The Supreme Court ruled health care was not commerce and was a state not federal issue.

  • Life insurance industry called Teddy Roosevelt’s call for national health Socialist—a label used ever since.

  • The American Medical Association called The Committee on the Costs of Medical Care’s 1936 recommendations Socialized medicine because it called for salaried doctors and community health planning.

  • Early health insurance emerged in the 1930’s with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to protect hospitals and doctors from bankruptcy.

  • FDR dropped health care from the New Deal for fear cries of Socialized medicine would defeat the New Deal, including Social Security.    

  •  US Supreme Court ruled doctors could have salaries and be employed in group practices.

  • Health insurance became an employee benefit in World War II so employers could offer health care to reward employees when they could not give raises during the war’s wage and price freeze.

  • Medicare and Medicaid passed in the 1960’s as part of civil rights legislation despite opposition fears of government control of  rates and regulations.

  • Both Truman’s and Nixon’s calls for reform failed.

  • Affordable Care Act passed establishing national guaranteed Essential Benefits, establishing national benefit standards for the first time.

  • Current attempts to repeal Affordable Care Act would eliminate Essential Benefits and return regulations to the states, among other provisions.

The health care  fight  is a fight over national vs. states rights  about  who regulates  benefits, who is eligible for insurance and  who regulates insurance over-head, profits and rates.                                                                                                                                                                       *********************************************

The Affordable Care Act’s flaws can be fixed.  It guarantees basic rights benefits and equal protection for everyone despite their health. Repeal would be a moral failure of our equal protection.

The Affordable Care Act is not personal interference. It is personal assurance that we all have equal protection.

© Kathleen O’Connor, July 4, 2017

For a more complete history of reform attempts see: http://oconnorreport.com/2016/06/the-inability-to-compromise-a-brief-health-reform-outline-1752-2015/

About Kathleen

Kathleen O’Connor: 30+ year health care consumer advocate, non-profit executive and author. For more information about Kathleen, please see "About" on the main content bar above.
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