Insurance premiums are rising much faster than overall inflation & worker’s wages. Learning the history of our healthcare system is the only way for consumers to understand how the rising costs affects the system today. As demand has grown, so has technology which has steadily increased cost. Higher costs, as well as for-profit insurers have created a crack in the system through which many Americans fall. The need for healthcare reform is apparent. The solutions and responsibility of those solutions is not.
The early practice of medicine did not require doctors to have the knowledge and qualifications of today. Due to the lack of knowledge, doctors usually did not charge much for services. Some large employers offered health insurance. Everyone else paid out of their own pockets. As regulations for the practice of medicine were established and knowledge of diseases and their treatments grew, so did the cost for consumers. Patients were being treated in hospitals to utilize new technologies which raised the costs as well. The rising costs, coupled with the impact of the Great Depression created a major crisis for most people.
The nonprofit foundation, of Blue Cross began at Baylor hospital in Texas as a group hospital plan offered to teachers. The plans were originally formed in order to avoid infringement of physician’s incomes. In the beginning, Blue charged all consumers the same premium. Private insurers entered the picture wanting to only insure people who were employed and healthy, increasing their profits substantially. When supply and demand continued to rise, Blue Cross had no choice but to change as well.
The government’s freezing of wages caused a shortage of workers during World War II. As a result, companies were desperate for ways to recruit workers. Healthcare benefits, which were not subject to income tax or Social Security taxes, became an attractive way to achieve this goal. Private health insurance was established. While private insurance may have been solidly in place, holes in the system were becoming obvious too. Americans, who could afford health insurance, had it. The disabled, indigent, unemployed, and retired were part of the population still uninsured or in debt due to medical expenses. In response to this growing chasm, the government sought to enact government-sponsored healthcare programs.
The Medicare and Medicaid...