Posts Tagged ‘President Theodore Roosevelt’

Healthcare Is Likely to Prove Popular With the Public

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

 At first, the public hated Medicare.  Healthcare reform will one day win public approval.  James Morone believes that one of the most surprising elements of the recently passed healthcare reform is that it goes against the old saw that “it takes a movement” to enact significant social legislation into law.  Addressing the annual meeting of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Morone – an author, lecturer and chairman of the political science department at Brown University – said “That’s what’s so surprising about this.  The movement was on the other side.”

In a lecture titled “Health and Politics in the Oval Office”, Morone said the unflinching Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s healthcare vision reflects a pattern that has recurred ever since President Theodore Roosevelt initially proposed reform in 1912.  Morone believes it says something crucial about Americans’ attitude towards government.  “Healthcare gets Americans screaming.  Why?  Simple.  Americans don’t like government and healthcare is lots of government,” according to Morone.  “But there’s something funny about the American fear of government, because it doesn’t seem to apply after it goes into effect.”

Morone cited the example of Medicare, which faced robust opposition in Congress when the legislation was approved 45 years ago.  Today, Medicare is one of government’s most popular programs.  He forecasts that the same will happen with healthcare reform, which could become a significant political liability for Republicans who voted against the bill.

As to state attorney general challenges to the legality of healthcare reform, Morone was dismissive.  “The states are not allowed to nullify federal law.  We fought a Civil War over that.  I think the case is settled,” he said.

Obama on Healthcare: “Now is the Season for Action”

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

obama_congress_480President Barack Obama’s prime-time speech to a joint session of Congress made a strong case for including a public option,  along with a combination of choices designed to keep the insurance industry in check.  Recalling Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to reform healthcare during the 1912 election, Obama said “I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last. Well, the time for bickering is over.  The time for games has passed,” Obama said. “Now is the season for action.”

That action includes a provision that protects uninsurable individuals from catastrophic healthcare expenses.  Another proposal is a series of pilot programs that will study how to reform the medical tort process.

Following is a brief summary of the Obama healthcare plan, which has a projected price tag of just under $1 trillion over 10 years (as a point of comparison, the U.S. spends half this in a single year on military spending):

  • Healthcare reform will provide more security and stability to Americans who currently have insurance, and it will provide coverage to those who don’t. It will slow the growth of healthcare costs.
  • Americans who already have health insurance through their employers, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, will see their coverage improve. The plan will make it illegal to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurers will no longer be able to place a cap on the amount of coverage a patient receives. Additionally, insurance companies will be required to cover routine checkups and preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies.
  • Coverage will be portable (if a person changes jobs or starts a small business) through the creation of an insurance exchange – a marketplace that will provide access to health insurance at competitive prices. The benefit to insurance companies is that the exchange lets them compete for millions of new customers.
  • For Americans who currently lack health insurance, Obama proposed a public option where government-subsidies would be available to make premiums affordable. Individuals would be required to obtain coverage, and their employers would have to contribute. Most Senate Republicans and some Blue Dog Democrats oppose this proposal, while Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said that the House’s version of the healthcare bill will include a public option.

Obama’s flexibility may not please the more liberal members of Congress, but reflects the political reality that exists on Capitol Hill.

Theodore Roosevelt Was Bullish on Healthcare Insurance

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The battle for national healthcare insurance is not new and goes back almost a to the era of President Theodore Roosevelt.
In opening remarks at the March 5 White House conference on healthcare, President Obama gave credit to Roosevelt when he noted that “The problems we face today are a direct consequence of actions that we failed to take yesterday. Since Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform nearly a century ago, we have talked and we have tinkered. We have tried and fallen short, we’ve stalled for time, and again we have failed to act because of Washington politics or industry lobbying.”

071011_nobel_roosevelt_vmed12p_widecPresident Theodore Roosevelt lived during what was known as the Progressive Era. A proponent of health insurance, he believed that a country could be strong only if its people were healthy. Roosevelt’s successors were conservatives, who postponed the kind of leadership that might have involved the government more extensively in managing the nation’s social welfare.

One plank in the Progressive Party 1912 platform – when Roosevelt was the party’s candidate for president — was “The protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use.” The proposed health service was local, not centralized, with employers contributing one third of the cost and workers contributing two-thirds.