Different Names, Same Bad Ideas: iterations of “Medicare for All” proposed repeatedly since 1942


More Democrats are lining up behind “Medicare for All” as the midterm elections approach, but the idea under different names has been proposed repeatedly since 1942, as shown in the timeline outlined in the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons by Jeremy Snavely.

“The last 75 years have seen exponential growth in government interference in American medicine. The result has been soaring costs and decreased quality and access,” he writes.

The Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill, providing for comprehensive health insurance under Social Security, was introduced in 1943. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), now celebrating its 75th anniversary, was founded to defeat this bill.

The incremental approach was adopted when Wagner-Murray-Dingell failed. As federal funding was provided for various programs, federal controls followed. Not long after Medicare was adopted in 1965, the federal government was dictating quality standards, criteria for medical necessity, the type of insurance that employers had to offer, Medicare price caps and controls, and methods of medical record-keeping, as Mr. Snavely details.

These measures generally worked to the disadvantage of independent practitioners. The Clinton Health Security Act, defeated in part thanks to AAPS v. Clinton, would have virtually outlawed private payment for medical services. Obama’s Affordable Care Act imposed mandates that outlawed affordable health insurance coverage for those not qualifying for premium subsidies. The Trump Administration is now increasing options outside of ACA-controlled plans, Mr. Snavely notes.

“Here’s one shocking fact that demonstrates magnitude of the [ACA] policy debacle, he writes: “The federal government spent $341 billion from 2014 through 2016 to increase private coverage by just 1.7 million people…. That’s $200,000 per person.”

More controls continue to be imposed on Medicare, such as ICD-10 coding requirements and more data sharing, and penalties have been greatly increased.

“As we close this time-line, the old becomes new again,” Mr. Snavely concludes.

Read Full Timeline at: http://www.jpands.org/vol23no3/snavely.pdf

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.