Future of Health Insurance

January 18, 1970

Report Outline
New Push for National Health Insurance
Inflationary Factors in Health Insurance
Means of Curbing Increases in Prices
Special Focus

New Push for National Health Insurance

A new push toward government-mandated national health insurance, an all-but-forgotten lost cause of the Truman administration, is gaining force. The new support grows out of widespread criticism of the prevailing method of providing and financing medical care in the nation. Though President Nixon has never reversed the stand in opposition to compulsory health insurance that he voiced during the 1968 election campaign, his administration has begun to take account of pressures for it.

Since taking office the President has described the nation's health-care problem as “much worse than I realized.” The United States faces a “massive crisis” in medical care needs in the next two or three years, he said on July 10, 1969, “unless something is done about it immediately.” Robert H. Finch, the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, predicted on Jan. 10, 1970, that before the end of the decade the nation will have some form of national health insurance from a mixture of private and government programs. Surgeon General Jesse L. Steinfeld told Congress that he believed America was moving toward a national health program and it was “our duty” to prepare for it now.

Pressures for Changes in Health-Care System

“Nobody expects a national health insurance law to be enacted this year,” Business Week magazine commented Jan. 17, 1970. “But there is a chance that first steps will come in time for the 1972 elections.” At least four congressional committees are expected to give consideration in the 1970 session to health issues that have some bearing on the future of national health insurance. They are the House Ways and Means Committee; the Senate Finance Committee; the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, a unit of the Judiciary Committee; and the Senate Health Subcommittee, a unit of the Labor and Public Welfare Committee. Rep. Wilbur D. Mills (D Ark.), chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has announced no plans to hold hearings on health insurance matters. But he is committed to write new welfare legislation and to look again into the financing of Medicare—areas of study that might be broadened to include ideas for a national plan of health insurance.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Health Insurance
Oct. 23, 2020  The U.S. Health Insurance System
Oct. 18, 2019  Health Care Debates
Sep. 21, 2012  Assessing the New Health Care Law
Jun. 11, 2010  Health-Care Reform Updated
Aug. 28, 2009  Health-Care Reform
Mar. 30, 2007  Universal Coverage
Jun. 14, 2002  Covering the Uninsured
Apr. 16, 1999  Managing Managed Care
Apr. 12, 1996  Managed Care
Mar. 17, 1995  Primary Care
Nov. 23, 1990  Setting Limits on Medical Care
Oct. 14, 1988  The Failure to Contain Medical Costs
Aug. 10, 1984  Health Care: Pressure for Change
Apr. 08, 1983  Rising Cost of Health Care
Jan. 28, 1977  Controlling Health Costs
Aug. 09, 1974  Health Maintenance Organizations
Jun. 13, 1973  Health Care in Britain and America
Jan. 18, 1970  Future of Health Insurance
Jun. 20, 1962  Health Care Plans and Medical Practice
May 28, 1958  Health Insurance Costs
Feb. 17, 1954  Government Aid for Health Plans
Nov. 22, 1949  Compensation for Disability
Aug. 30, 1946  Public Medical Care
Jan. 25, 1944  Medical Insurance
Sep. 16, 1938  Health Insurance in Foreign Countries
Mar. 06, 1937  Toward Health Insurance
Jul. 09, 1934  Sickness Insurance and Group Hospitalization
Health Insurance and Managed Care