Politickin' With John Brown: Health Care Reform's Sick Past

Politickin' With John Brown: Health Care Reform's Sick Past

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KRS-ONE once claimed that all he truly needed was "health, wealth, and knowledge of myself." In America, that's never been easy—especially the first part. Being founded on extreme capitalistic principles, the U.S.A. has a grim history of palsied and diseased healthcare. Even though the country spends more of its GDP on the health industry than any other U.N. member, the money doesn't go to actual care, but to bureaucratic purgatory and the enormous coffers of the private insurers. We're still the only industrialized nation without universal coverage.

With 47 million people living on a prayer, President Obama today held his health care summit to try to force the GOP's hand to work together on some level of reform. But it's not easy when so many politicians are subsidiaries of insurance companies. The battle for universal coverage stretches all the way back to the beginning of last century, and trust—even today, the odds aren't in the peoples favor. Here's a look back; careful, thouh, it might just make you queasy...

American Association for Labor Legislation's Conference On Social Insurance, 1913
• Prior to recent proposed reform plans, the AALL already had an album called The Blueprint. Worried that America's obsession over individualism would lead to gaps in coverage, they organized this conference in the same year that many Native American tribes signed the Declaration of Allegiance with the US. Although WWI distracted everyone from pushing the changes through, their ideas set the groundwork for future proposed takeovers. But since then, insurance companies have been all, "you little fuck, I got money stacks bigger than you."

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FDR Signs Social Security Act, 1935
• The whole laissez-faire splurge thing didn't work so well, and we hit a Great Depression long before Darkman X did . Fearing a revolution, FDR went in. Despite the creation of Social Security and other governmental programs under the New Deal, health care reform got axed. It would be a ruff ryde ahead. Deadlox!

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Truman Fair Deal, 1945
• President Truman tried to fight for a public health care option but was attacked by the American Medical Association, who called him a commie. Then the Korean War started so Truman dropped reform... and began dropping bombs on Communists. Win-win for the AMA, lose-lose for us. But especially for the Communists.

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LBJ Signs Medicare Bill, 1965
• After taking over the House, Democrats pushed through the first dramatic public health overhaul. While it marked the first significant use of tax dollars for medicine, it was by no means a universal program. But at least LBJ got something done with that majority, right? *blank stare*

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Nixon Introduces Health Maintenance Organizations, 1971
• Insurance companies' shameless profiteering was epitomized when Nixon sponsored the HMO era. In this clip, a healthy dose of sleaze is administered: "The less care they give them, the more money they make." Jackpot!

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Reagan Fights Against Socialized Medicine, 1980s
• Not only did Reagan have a history of fighting against "socialized medicine," but during his Presidency, funding for public hospitals were slashed and the number of mentally-ill homeless people skyrocketed. However, following his assassination attempt, Reagan was treated promptly at George Washington University. At least he had coverage.

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HIllary Clinton's Reform Task Force, 1993
• When Clinton took office, 44 million Americans had no health care. He put wifey in charge of the task force to reform the system, but the future Secretary of State went down to ignominious defeat, word to her husband's intern. Despite having a Democratic majority, the GOP blocked any changes and Republicans swept the House in the '94 elections. Sound familiar?

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Obama Holds Health Care Summit, 2010
• Things looked bright at the end of the year when the House finally agreed on a lukewarm reform bill. But after Scott Brown shocked the left, health reform looked doomed once again. Now, with the bipartisan standoff summit finally underway, it's clear that politics is hurting any possibility for productivity, with Obama reminding his fiery rival McCain that "we're not campaigning, the election is over." Ouch! Old wounds run deep, fam.

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