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National Health Care Reform Essay Sample

Free Health Care Reform Essay Example


The 2008 presidential election in united states has became a turning for attaining a comprehensive health care reform The aim of the policy debate was to introduce a federal program for majority of the  uninsured Americans to buy and manage the health care system. However, critics point out that the most important path towards attaining a universal coverage was not followed. They propose that the plan should have expanded the existing Medicaid so as to cover the biggest portion of Americans who are uninsured. The target group for the proposed bill is made to net Americans whose incomes level fall below the 350% mark of the federal poverty level. The bill automatically requires people with high incomes to be automatically covered and buy into Medicaid.

Attempts to enact the universal coverage failed in the past because interested groups in the business and the insurance industry opposed the move. Another blow came from the reform opponents who always took advantage of anti – government ethos. The political institutions in United States systems are such that it makes it hard to enact comprehensive legislation. The system provides stringent checks and balances that make it very possible for opponents to block any changes on any piece of legislation. The medical health care system has become one of the most successful bills in the United States history. It is of great interest to not that the factors that led to the defeated of President Bill Clinton’s proposal for a similar health care coverage have became the same factors that have encouraged the 2008 heath care plan.

The bill is faced with numerous challenges such as the question of paying the bill mainly midst the current economic crisis.

The history of the Universal Health Care

The campaign for universal health care has been a subject of controversy that has stretched for nearly a century in the US. At different times of the U.S. history the draft almost showed signs of succeeding only to be defeated during its last stage. These efforts have continually evolved thus becoming an intriguing lesson in determining American history, ideology, and character.

During the period between the late 1800’s to 1912.the American government took no action to subsidize voluntary funds and make sick insurance compulsory to everyone. The federal chose to leave the matter to the federal governments which in turn left the issue to the states. On its, side the states left them to the private sector and other interested voluntary programs.

During the late 19th or early 20th century, United States had set aside some voluntary funds that to be provided to members in the case of sickness or death. During the Progressive Era, attempts by reformers to introduce a bill that would improve the social conditions of the workers were introduced. Theodore Roosevelt supported the health insurance bill he was very confident that no country would be strong if its people are sick and poor. However, his successors were conservatives and kept postponing the important social welfare.

In 1915, a model bill on health insurance was drafted which limited its coverage to the working class and other middle earners with dependants. The bill introduced a sick pay, benefits during maternity time, and a death benefit with the help of physicians, nurses, and hospitals. The cost was shared among workers, employers, and the state. The health insurance plan never got full support and the American Federation of Labor president denounced compulsory health insurance. The opposing group argued that the system was to be a government based insurance system that would weaken unions since the government had the central role in providing social benefits to its citizens.

The bill in the early 20th century was as well being opposed by the commercial insurance industry. The working class feared a “pauper’s burial,” which was the backbone of insurance business. The pauper’s burial was a policy that assisted the working class families by paying their death benefits and helped in funeral expenses.

In 1917, the US government was enrolled in the WWI and anti-German fever. The government issued articles denouncing the “German socialist insurance.” Another error was the inclusion of the funeral benefit that threatened the structure of the commercial life insurance industry.

In the 1920, the debate awoke again but with a change of its nature, it aimed at shifting from stabilizing incomes to expanding access to medical care by financial it. It was at the same period when the cost of health care began rising because the middle class that had been locked out began to use hospital services to access health services and for this reason hospital costs started to increase. The rise in medical care costs became a big item in family budget than any other form of wage losses making it a matter that required government control.

During Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) tenure that was characterized by WWI, the Great Depression, and the New Deal. The Social Security Bill big was part of his plan. Critics thought that the Great Depression was the perfect conditions to push and pass the a compulsory health insurance in America but this was not to be because most of the Americans were forced out of work by the harsh economic conditions, unemployment took the centre stage followed by old age benefits. FDR’s Committee feared including the health insurance in its bill because it threatened the successful passage of the Social Security legislation in totality. For this reason the health care bill was excluded. All this took place in1935.

The Wagner Bill of 1939 was the second FDR’s attempt. FDR never gave the bill all the required support, the national health program was to be funded by federal grants and was to be administered by states and localities. Later the Wagner Bill evolved and became a proposal for federal grants for national health insurance. In 1943, the bill proposed a compulsory national health insurance. Though the bill faced opposition from whom antagonists launched a scathing attack. In 1946, the Republicans took office and showed no interest in enacting national health insurance. Though the bill got government backing it was still defeated.

The Path from President Obama to Congress and Into Law

After many years of failed attempts to enact the health care reform, President Obama finally signed it into legislation on March 23, 2010. The system is meant to overhaul the nation’s health care system and it guarantees medical access to tens of millions of Americans who had remained uninsured.

Within two days later, the House and Senate completed finalized on the bill by making fixes to the bills. Though the Republicans, voted against the bill but in vain, they have vowed to challenge it in court. The bill signed to law provide medical coverage to slightly over 30 million people who currently lacked it. The passage of the bill has placed and assures president Obama as an historical American president whose success was in the nation’s health care system where others, tirelessly tried and failed.   The law is set to cost the united states government about $938 billion within 10 years, though it is estimated that the federal deficit will be reduced by $138 billion within the same period of time.

The path was not smooth all the way because efforts to jeopardize his efforts were evident, such as the filling of the Senate seat in Massachusetts. This sit deprived the Democrats of the 60th vote required to block a Republican from achieving their goal. The president strategy turned to using budget reconciliation to push the bill through.


In conclusion, the healthcare bill in my opinion fits into the Obama administration’s economic strategy among the other plans undertaken. Though, the United States is a wealthy, industrialized nation, it had not ensured universal health coverage for its citizens. But since after the bill was signed to law. Some of the issues facing serious debate include the questions of access, efficiency, quality, and its sustainability. The shared cost either direct or hidden results to a shared lower costs and improve quality. One big challenge in implementing the US healthcare reform is that it does not have direct benefit to the insurance companies and other private health care industry.

The health care bill in my opinion is the greatest achievement the Obama administration has been able to achieve so far and shall go to history books as the biggest achievement of the time.