By Gregory Moore
“In 1969, Peter A. Corning, a journalist and Ph.D. candidate at New York University, completed a contract with SSA’s Office of Research and Statistics for a history of developments in health insurance leading up to the passage of Medicare in 1965. Mr. Corning’s history is a very accessible, highly-readable account of Medicare in the broader historical context of social insurance in America.”
That paragraph is taken directly from the Social Security website (http://www.ssa.gov/history/corning.html) and the page itself is quite compelling because it would seem that health care reform is something this country has been trying to get right since at least the 1920s.
In 1965, when Mr. Corning signed his contract, there was no Medicare, as we know it. As a matter of fact if you click on the links of the referenced page above, you will find a fairly vast history about Medicare and how it came about. What I’ve also found after doing my own search about the history off the program is that former president Harry S. Truman was the first American to get Medicaid and his wife was the second. And the Trumans were present when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965.
There is no telling what kind of debate went on during the time span from when the idea about a social medical program for the elderly was conceptualized to when President Johnson signed the bill. One thing is for certain however; millions of elderly citizens and others who meet special criteria are grateful to the program for its existence.
That gratefulness probably doesn’t come without its detractors and the program definitely is far from being perfect but it is a precursor to what was signed today by President Barack Obama.
Today health care reform in this country took another giant leap just like it did in 1965 when Johnson gave Truman his Medicaid card.
What is indeed troubling however is the fact that you still have many Republicans and/or conservative wind bags denouncing this passage as socialized medicine, as big government taking over what the citizens do not want, that “Obamacare” cares nothing about the American public.
They have said everything they can about what is wrong with this passage of legislation but they have not come to realize that in order to ‘fix’ what we all may perceive as a broken system, this passage was necessary to help put in place programs that will be beneficial years from now.
What this current legislation is about to go through is the same skepticism, Draconian speak that many in the 1960s faced when they wanted Medicaid to not become law because it was a ‘socialist’ program.
The same arguments that didn’t hold up in 1965 do not hold up 45 years later either.
Think about all the rhetoric we’ve heard from both sides on this issue.
What does that tell you?
Those leaders are scared to think outside the box.
They are afraid to make a decision that could actually be for the benefit of the country in the long run and when one of them does, those who did not have the drive to make the decision criticizes their colleagues for doing something they were scared to do themselves.
Such is how it is right now with the passing and signing of the health care reform bill.
Obama and the lawmakers who wanted to pass the bill have been called everything in the book by their opponents.
And for what?
For taking the initiative to actually want to leap to the next level and solve a crisis that has been affecting our country for decades.
And in their shouting, opponents have glossed over the significance of this signing of that historic piece of legislation.
That legislation is the first of many revisions that will now become a foundation to what this country will have in the form of affordable health care in the near future.
Will it cure all the ills we face today? Of course not.
Is it a plan that is supposed to be the ends to a means? No.
Just as the Social Security Act of 1965 laid down the foundation for Medicaid and affordable health coverage for the elderly, the Health Reform Act of 2010 becomes the subfloor for a bigger medical reform plan down the road.
Just what is that plan? Only the legislators truly have an inkling where this is headed and even they are limited in scope.
What is definitely certain is that if the opposing voices hushed for just ten minutes, they will hear that this plan is only the beginning of something every American deserves; health care coverage that is comprehensive, expansive and best of all, affordable.
Whatever those goals may be, we cannot get there without this legislation being passed.
For it’s a block to our future that has been laid.
Just like it was in 1965 and what Obama has done today.
And based upon those two actions thus far, the next President will have a blueprint as to refining a system that is put in place from his or her predecessor.
It is what was needed for the time to move us forward and like it or not, it is what is needed to help this country move forward in the right direction of better health care services for all citizens.
Regardless of political persuasion.