Monday, July 20, 2009

Health Insurance: A brief history ~ Part 2

The questions I brought up in Part 1 have been nagging at me for a long time. So, I decided to look into the history of how HMO’s and “employer provided” health insurance evolved. First, I must admit I am extremely embarrassed about how easy this information was to find. A simple google search got me started.

Here is what I found out. “Universal Health care” has been a battle in congress pretty much since 1942, this is when congress legislated that *only* employers could make tax deductions for health insurance premiums. So individuals had no incentive to obtain individual coverage. This would be the first step in our slippery slope. The next attempt was in 1943 with the Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill, this was an attempt to add heath insurance to the social security system, as well as other provisions, including nationalization of unemployment compensation. This bill was supported by organized labor and farm organizations and opposed by organized physicians. The bill met with strong opposition, including organized doctors vowing not to serve patients under the plan, but referring them to the politician who they paid. It never came to a vote in congress. However, in 1945 the bill was revised when President Truman sent a message asking congress to address specific areas. When the “new” bill was introduce later in 1945, it sparked a nation wide discussion. People became aware and nonprofessional groups took time to “dispel false notions and groundless fears”. The bill was never passed.

Two decades of debate continued, during which time commercial health insurance companies started seeing more interest and enrollment grew. The Social Security Administration also, continued perusing the idea of offering health insurance as a benefit to recipients, and in July 1965, another progressive move toward socialized medicine, Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law. President Truman was the first person enrolled and it was done ceremonially at the signing

The latest step and the one that has brought us to the system that is in place today is the HMO Act of 1973, signed into law by President Nixon. This act provide funds, tax payer money, to start or expand an HMO with a list of mandates and bypassing state restrictions. The HMO had 3 basic requirements, to provide a specific list of benefits, charge the same price to everyone and be structured as a non-profit.

Well, I don’t know about you but I was just a kid in the 70’s. I never realized that HMO’s were basically started by the federal government. It never occurred to me that they were anything but well meaning non profit organizations trying to provide better health care. I bet the general public does not know that HMO’s were started by the federal government. That HMO’s probably violate the 10th amendment to the constitution and HMO’s very likely were a trial run for the government provided health insurance, but they put it in the hands of non profit, so when it did not work the federal government could rush, and I do mean rush, in to fix the problem.

So there you go, a brief history of insurance legislation and the progressive movement to socialize health insurance. And believe me this is just the highlights I think the point I want everyone to take away, is this has been going on for a long time. We need to not only stop this legislation, but kill it for good. I hope you learned something you did not know from this article and are encouraged to so some googling on you own. Just make sure you have your duct tape handy.

1 comment:

  1. Good article...you are dead on target. My feeling is that banishing doctor networks and regulating that doctors have an obligation to take anyone's valid coverage as payment will help foster competition, and it would have the overall affect of reducing costs. When choices are locked down, competition is stifled and costs go up.

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