Power, Politics, and Universal Health Care: The Inside Story of a Century-Long Battle

Power, Politics, and Universal Health Care: The Inside Story of a Century-Long Battle

by Stuart Altman, David Shactman
     
 

ISBN-10: 1616144564

ISBN-13: 9781616144562

Pub. Date: 09/20/2011

Publisher: Prometheus Books

Essential reading for every American who must navigate the US health care system.

Why was the Obama health plan so controversial and difficult to understand? In this readable, entertaining, and substantive book, Stuart Altman—internationally recognized expert in health policy and adviser to five US presidents—and fellow health care specialist

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Overview

Essential reading for every American who must navigate the US health care system.

Why was the Obama health plan so controversial and difficult to understand? In this readable, entertaining, and substantive book, Stuart Altman—internationally recognized expert in health policy and adviser to five US presidents—and fellow health care specialist David Shactman explain not only the Obama health plan but also many of the intriguing stories in the hundred-year saga leading up to the landmark 2010 legislation. Blending political intrigue, policy substance, and good old-fashioned storytelling, this is the first book to place the Obama health plan within a historical perspective.

The authors describe the sometimes haphazard, piece-by-piece construction of the nation’s health care system, from the early efforts of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman to the later additions of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. In each case, they examine the factors that led to success or failure, often by illuminating little-known political maneuvers that brought about immense shifts in policy or thwarted herculean efforts at reform.

The authors look at key moments in health care history: the Hill–Burton Act in 1946, in which one determined poverty lawyer secured the rights of the uninsured poor to get hospital care; the "three-layer cake" strategy of powerful House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills to enact Medicare and Medicaid under Lyndon Johnson in 1965; the odd story of how Medicare catastrophic insurance was passed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 and then repealed because of public anger in 1989; and the fact that the largest and most expensive expansion of Medicare was enacted by George W. Bush in 2003.

President Barack Obama is the protagonist in the climactic chapter, learning from the successes and failures chronicled throughout the narrative. The authors relate how, in the midst of a worldwide financial meltdown, Obama overcame seemingly impossible obstacles to accomplish what other presidents had tried and failed to achieve for nearly one hundred years.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616144562
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
09/20/2011
Pages:
390
Sales rank:
503,924
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.48(h) x 1.13(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword by Senator John Kerry....................7
Introduction by Stuart Altman....................11
Prologue: Barack Obama and the Challenge of Health Care Reform....................17
Acknowledgments....................23
1. Nixon Comes Close: Our Plan Looks Like a Slam Dunk, but Ends with Just a Dunk....................27
2. Clinton Chooses Wrong: The Colossal Defeat of Managed Competition....................62
3. The Past Foreshadows the Present: Early Attempts with Little Success....................97
4. The Hill-Burton Program: How America's Uninsured Poor Got a Right to Free Hospital Care....................111
5. The Three-Layer Cake: Lyndon Johnson, Wilbur Mills, and the Epic Battle to Enact Medicare....................122
6. Ooops! The Brief Life and Death of Medicare Catastrophic....................149
7. Ted Kennedy and the Republican Congress: HIPAA and SCHIP Add Two More Pieces to the Puzzle....................162
8. The Unlikely Saga of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit....................177
9. Controlling Health Costs: Many Attempts but Few Successes....................203
10. The Last Twenty Years: Health Care Spending Keeps Growing....................230
11. Obama Develops His Plan....................245
12. Early Players and Done Deals....................254
13. Baucus, Grassley, and the Gang of Six....................274
14. The Summer of Death Panels....................278
15. The Speaker Carries the Day....................285
16. The Senate and the Christmas Eve Health Bill....................292
17. Success at Last....................314
18. How He Did It: A Political Strategy Learned from History....................330
19. The Future Is Cost Control....................338
Epilogue....................343
Endnotes....................347
Glossary....................381
Bibliography....................395
Index....................407

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