From 1853 to 2014: How 9 presidents changed healthcare


Since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there has been much debate over some of the Act's more contentious provisions, and President Barack Obama has received criticism and praise over the law. However, President Obama was not the first president to stir up controversy over healthcare.

Here are 9 presidents that have impacted healthcare in America, beginning in 1853, according to a report by Vitals.

1. President Franklin Pierce. Born in Hillsborough (now Hillsboro), New Hampshire in1804, Franklin Pierce became the 14th president of the U.S. in 1853. By vetoing Congress's "Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane," he became the first U.S. president to take action regarding a healthcare issue. He vetoed the bill because he felt the government should not decide social welfare issues. 

2. President Theodore Roosevelt. Born in New York in 1858, Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president of the U.S. in 1901. After serving a two-term presidency, President Roosevelt became the first president to make an attempt at healthcare reform when he called for a national healthcare system during his failed 1912 re-election campaign.

3. President Franklin Roosevelt. Born in Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1882, Franklin Roosevelt became the 32nd president of the U.S. in 1933. He fought to include mandatory health insurance in the Social Security Act of 1935, but he stopped fighting for the inclusion after the American Medical Association strongly opposed it, and there was fear the entire bill would not pass if the issue was not dropped. President Roosevelt also supported the Wagner National Health Act of 1939, which included a national health insurance mandate. However, the mandate did not earn the support of the conservative members of Congress, and national health insurance was put aside again.

4. President Harry Truman. Born in Lamar, Mo., in 1884, Harry Truman became the 33rd president of the U.S. after President Roosevelt's death in 1945. President Truman supported national health insurance, but all of his efforts for reform were blocked, as his presidency coincided with the Cold War, and opponents of national healthcare publicized it as Soviet-style communism.

5. Lyndon Johnson. Born in Stonewall, Texas in 1908, Lyndon Johnson became the 36th president of the U.S. in 1963. During his term he made significant changes to the healthcare system by proposing both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which were both passed and signed into law in 1965. 

6. President Richard Nixon.  Born in Yorba Linda, Calif., in 1913, Richard Nixon became the 37th president of the U.S. in 1969. He extended the Medicare program by signing the Social Security Amendments of 1972, which made Americans under age 65 who had been severely disabled for at least two years or who had end-stage renal disease eligible for Medicare.

7. President Jimmy Carter. Born in Plains, Ga., in 1924, Jimmy Carter became the 39th president of the U.S. in 1977. President Carter supported mandatory and universal health insurance that would be issued through the existing private insurance system. He also sent the Hospital Cost Containment Act of 1977 and the Child Health Assessment Program to Congress, although both were rejected.

8. President Bill Clinton. Born in Hope, Ark., in 1946, Bill Clinton became the 42nd president of the U.S. in 1993. President Clinton put together a task force to study and develop solutions to the high cost of healthcare. The result was the Health Security Act, which required all employers to provide health insurance to all employees. However, Congress did not pass it.

9. President Barack Obama. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1964, Barack Obama became the 44th president of the U.S. in 2009. President Obama proposed the PPACA, which was signed into law in 2010. Although some of the provisions of the health reform law, such as tax subsidies and the contraception mandate are still being ironed out, the PPACA aims to make health insurance available and affordable for all Americans.

More articles on health reform: 

Is health reform affordability a myth? 5 things to know 
Is this the end for hospital charity care? 
The changing healthcare world: 7 trends to watch

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