Getting Sick In America – Healthcare In 1968 – Past Daily Reference Room
Since the subject of Healthcare has been front-and-center in the media and most conversation the past few decades, it’s sobering to know it’s not a new argument. In fact, the subject of affordable healthcare has been argued since as far back as 1909.
And much has been accomplished in that time. Since 1909, and even since 1968, modern medicine has made enormous advances towards prolonging and even enriching life.
But in the 1960’s, even with Medicare, which was signed into law in 1965, there was still a broken system and a system desperately in need of repair. You’d think after almost fifty years something would have happened to fix it. Americans priding themselves on the notion that, when things are broken, we are resourceful enough to get them fixed – but this is a deal breaker, it seems.
The issue of affordable healthcare has been paramount is just about every political campaign and public discussion. Why is America the only country in the world not with some system of Universal Healthcare? It’s a question that’s been on most people’s minds for a very long time. It was a promise made by FDR in the 1930s. It was put on temporary hold until Social Security was established. It was reintroduced in 1941, just in time for America to enter World War 2 – it was a promise meant to be renewed after the War, but the death of President Roosevelt left it in limbo until President Truman reintroduced it. And since then, every President (with the exception of the current one) has sought some form of Universal or affordable healthcare – and each time it has been met with resistance from the Health Insurance lobby (a now powerful entity that wasn’t early on in the conversation) and the end result was eventual defeat, with the exception of The Affordable Healthcare Act – or Obamacare, as it came to be known. And even though it was far from perfect, it was at least a boilerplate by which improvements and amendments would be drawn and introduced. But even that has been subject to repeal for a number of reasons; none of them good or even logical.
In 1968, as part of its Monthly radio documentary series Second Sunday, NBC Radio explored the subject of Medical Care in America and came up with a lot of very familiar situations. Further evidence some things don’t change, or refuse to.
Here is that Second Sunday episode, first broadcast on August 11, 1968.