Continuing with my series of weekend reads, you’ll enjoy this one from The New Yorker Atul Gawandi writes a historical article about the reaction of the medical community, the segregationist south, and others to Medicare first being written into law in 1965. It is interesting to see how he relates this to the health care reform legislation of 2010. Read his article and leave comments here. Enjoy.
by Atul Gawande April 5, 2010
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law. In public memory, what ensued was the smooth establishment of a popular program, but in fact Medicare faced a year of nearly crippling rearguard attacks. The American Medical Association had waged war to try to stop the program, and doctors weren’t about to abandon the fight against “socialized medicine” simply because it had passed into law. The Ohio Medical Association, with ten thousand physician members, declared that it would boycott Medicare, and a nationwide movement began. Race proved an even more explosive issue. Many hospitals, especially in the South, were segregated, and the law required them to integrate in order to receive Medicare dollars. Alabama’s Governor George Wallace was among those who encouraged resistance; just two months before coverage was to begin, half the hospitals in a dozen Southern states had still refused to meet Medicare certification.
Either boycott could have destroyed the program. Read the rest of the article