Debate has broke out in the United States over a universal health care plan since Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. A universal health care plan is a system of organized care for all members of a society; therefore, everyone in America would theoretically have free health insurance. Although over a century of debate has taken place, there has never been a universal health care system in the United States.
There has been many attempts in American history to begin a universal health care plan. Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to support a national insurance plan; however he felt it was not the government’s place to to mandate reforms (Matusiak). The American Association of Labor led a campaign for national insurance in 1906 (matusiak). This fell through because of the lack of support. Theodore Roosevelt’s distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt was the next president to support a universal health care plan, but ran into other obstacles such as new deal and WWII instead of passing a national health care bill. The next president, Harry Truman believed so strongly in a universal health care plan that it became the main topic of debate of national politics (Matusiak). “ The opposition to the plan spoke of the plan looking a lot like socialism” (Matusiak). America was widely against the spread of communism at the time, therefore a “socialistic” view of medicine was immediately shut down. This was not the last of the presidents that wanted to create a national health care plan. Other presidents like Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton tried to pass different universal health care bills, both were unsuccessful (Matusiak). The national health insurance debate continues today as costs of medical care continues to rise. President Obama has continued the trend by writing the “Health Care Reform” bill. This bill has been revised by many to become a different style than universal health care. It is a national insurance policy that one can purchase. Only time will tell if the debate of universal health care will ever end.
What has kept the people of the United States from embracing universal health care? Individual benefits. “The founding fathers’ core principle-- that individual rights and responsibilities trump everything, even societal benefits” (Torre). This pertains to health care in the sense that if someone has access to quality medical care, why would they want to sacrifice that access for someone else? “People begin seeing themselves not as a society of individuals, but as individuals of a society” (Torre). The act of paying taxes for everyone to have the same access to medical care seems un-American. The individual benefits of quality medical care and monetary expenditure is the reason universal health care has never been given a chance.
The United States health care system is far from similar to a universal health care plan. Americans either purchase health insurance individually or it is provided as a benefit for working at certain...