Public Medical Care

August 30, 1946

Report Outline
Competing Plans for Expansion of Medical Care
Public-Private Medical Service in United States
New British System of Medical Care
State Medicine in the Soviet Union

Competing Plans for Expansion of Medical Care

Beginning with the publication in 1932 of a notable study on the costs of medical care, numerous investigations conducted under private and government auspices during the last 14 years have shown the need of improved health services for the people of the United States. The medical skills and equipment available in this country are the equal of those found anywhere in the world, but they have remained beyond the means of a large part of the population and inaccessible to many persons living in rural areas.

Maldistribution of medical services was aggravated by the long depression of the 1930's and by the subsequent mobilization of physicians for service with the armed forces. During war years, the high percentage of draft rejections because of physical defects, and the losses in war production due to sickness, brought new public appreciation of the importance to the nation of a high level of health. At the same time, the success of new treatments applied in the Army and Navy generated a wide demand that they be made generally available to the civilian population, and that economic barriers to their use be removed.

Postwar Action by Congress on Health Measures

General recognition of the need for greater assistance from the national government in meeting the country's health problems was evident in the recently adjourned session of Congress, at which unprecedented attention was devoted to health measures. Congressional debates developed a sharp difference of opinion, however, as to the principles upon which federal assistance should be based. A proposal by President Truman for introduction of compulsory health insurance was countered with a Republican plan for a large expansion of publicly-financed medical care for low-income groups. As a result, little progress was made toward adoption of a rounded national health program for the postwar period.

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
Medicaid and Medicare
Medicaid and Medicare