Richard Nixon on Health Care
President of the U.S., 1968-1974
Pres. Nixon recognized the draining effects of health costs on the economy and proposed a system of universal health care based on what's known as an "employer mandate": all employees would be required to pay for limited benefits for their employees. Although as many as 20 different health care proposals were introduced in Congress during the Nixon Administration, no proposal for universal coverage got a majority vote from a congressional committee until 1994.
Presidents Ford and Carter also pursued reform in the 1970s, but they ran into the same political obstacles that had blocked change for most of the 20th century. Over several decades, the health insurance industry had grown increasingly powerful. The historical odds were against Bill.
To take a glaring example, we have made the mistake in addressing issues such as the exploding costs of health care in ways that removed market forces from the equation. We have erred by separating health care consumers from concern about the costs of the care being provided. We need to work out a system that includes a greater emphasis on preventative care, sufficient public funding for health insurance for those who cannot afford it in the private sector, competition among both health care providers and health insurance providers to keep down the costs of both, and decoupling the cost of health care from the cost of adding workers to the payroll.
Because of the miracles of modern medicine, both my brothers would have recovered today. But the experience made an indelible impression on me. From the time I went to Congress in 1947, I was determined to support any proposal to help other families meet such extraordinary expenses without breaking the family budget.
In 1971, some observers were surprised when I included in my State of the Union message a request for the Congress to appropriate $100 million to launch a war on cancer. Why cancer? Why not some other worthwhile program? Again, the reason can be found in my background.
When Pat was 13 years old, her mother Kate Ryan died of cancer. I shall never forget the ordeal my mother's sister, Aunt Beth went through when she contracted breast cancer.
Now, I recognize that other plans have been put forward that would put our whole health care system under the heavy hand of the Federal Government. This is the wrong approach. This has been tried abroad, and it has failed. It is not the way we do things here in America. This kind of plan would threaten the quality of care provided by our whole health care system. The right way is one that builds on the strengths of the present system. Government has a great role to play, but we must always make sure that our doctors will be working for their patients and not for the Federal Government.
|Other past presidents on Health Care:||Richard Nixon on other issues:|
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)
Past Vice Presidents:
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