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American Struggle over Health Care Reform | Article Review

Info: 1651 words (7 pages) Essay
Published: 22nd Mar 2019 in Health

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Review and Reflection of Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform by Paul Starr

Paul Starr author of Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle of Health Care Reform captures a chronological order of the historical journey of American health care. Starr focuses on three varied foundations of his beliefs throughout the book. In the first foundation, he examines the genealogy [A1]of health care in America, the historical aspects that reflect growth of ideas while working toward a common goal. This plan has worked very well in all other aspects, except health care. Historically these plans are either defeated, or routinely derailed by scandal in the White House. The framework for Starr’s first foundation is seemingly parallel to the Essentials of the US Health Care Systems by Lieu Shi and Douglas Singh[A2]. The second foundation focused on the frustrated ambitions throughout historical points that displaying the repeated impediment of progress toward a health care plan. The foundation of his discussion format on health care revolves from his time spent in the White House, during the Clinton administration coupled with other sources bringing into the light the ambivalence between the Liberals and Conservatives. Then we have the counterrevolution during the Bush administration, which revealed ineffective views as Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich failed in his attempt to “Contract with America” when he threatened to remove all entitlements. Bipartisan conflict has stood in the way of progress of universal health care for the American people since the first mention of universal health care. Starr’s third foundation evolves from political analysis to the various methods of journalism that misleads the American public using media tactics using manipulation. Starr affectionately refers to the third foundation as the rollercoaster phase in the preemptive stages, gearing up to the signing of “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” as public policy vs the media and the continued uncertainty of reform.

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Starr speaks of the progressive nature of the US throughout history in a clear fashion. Our elected officials have managed to forge ahead developing various long standing viable programs such as the food and drug regulation, social security, labor laws, antitrust laws, antipoverty programs, the Federal Reserve, National Parks, minimum wage standards, environmental protection, occupational safety, consumer safety, Medicare and Medicaid, but still no universal health care plan. It is seemingly ridiculous when Starr reiterates our nation’s historic triumphs knowing that our elected officials neglected coming up with a viable health care plan for the good of our society. Starr has a degree in sociology, and he made a name for himself as a former White House senior adviser on health care during the Clinton administration. He prides himself as an advocate for a national health care plan, while admitting he has no shame in exerting his bias opinions that are supportive of the health care reform for the good of the people.[A3]

Starr points out that our nation spends considerably higher amounts of money on health care that is reflected in the percentage of gross domestic product comparison of other countries. The US health care spending is 17.6 percent of the gross domestic product, compared to 9 percent of other comparable countries that have socialized insurance. Our nation continues to have approximately 50 million uninsured people while other countries serve all and spend less. These facts are also parallel to Essentials of the US Health Care Systems by Lieu Shi and Douglas Singh. However when your basing ones information from a historically accurate review and a rather narrow subject of health care numerous parallels are to be expected. Starr insist that the policies that had been set forth are hard to undo and render more divergence of ideology, rather than convergence of the minds between political parties on health care policies. Creating a health care policy that is for the good of all people has been a long time coming, one that has been historically full of almost, and mishaps. Starr references to as early as 1912 after Britain passed its National Insurance Act those republicans jumped at the chance to have a platform on social insurance to protect people against the cost of sickness. This was the basis of Former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Platform, unfortunately, he never addressed health insurance, according to Starr, health care was never a part of his campaign speech when he ran against Woodrow Wilson and lost. However Teddy Roosevelt’s stand was on. Although Teddy Roosevelt never had the opportunity to expand on his ideas about health care plan, he planted a seed first in the minds of fellow Republicans spreading throughout history and across political parties. Even though that seed did not bear fruit any fruit until 100 years later, it did not die either.

Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt presidency is riddled with rising cost of medical care, private health insurance was new on the market. The American Medical Association (AMA) lobbied against plans Roosevelt had to include government health insurance into the “Social Security Act”. Roosevelt had a “New Deal” to insure that the economic, social, and political benefits of Americans distributed more evenly, throughout a more diverse population. The New Deal did this rather effectively but it was not enough to pull people up out of the depression era and ended up failing.

Former President Richard Nixon had the most extensive and comprehensive plan ever developed focusing on a health care plan for all people. Nixon’s plan created a lot of interest he planned to fill in the gaps of people’s current health care coverage and have the government subsidize any out of pocket cost from hospital stays. In 1971 there was a rise in health care cost. Nixon wanted employers offering a low cost insurance to their employees. No one was to be exempt from care regardless of addictions or preexisting conditions. He promoted preventive care and believed in order for people to be successful in their endeavors they must first be healthy. Unfortunately, Watergate over shadowed his Presidency and his extensive health care plan.

Governor Mitt Romney’s health care plan, “Romneycare” is indeed borrowed heavily as a templet for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka “ Obamacare.” Assumingly it was working in the state of Massachusetts and Obama decided to borrow and implement it as a plan for our nation. Senator Teddy Kennedy worked feverishly during all his years in office to ensure everyone had health insurance that was his number one priority. Senator Kennedy worked on and in conjunction with many health agency programs to provide Americans with the health care that meets their needs. He went out of his way to focus on programs that centered round the care of children, like the Ryan White foundation.

Former President Bill Clinton headed all the meeting involving, and provided the outlines and criteria for the meetings. Starr states that the only previous president to enter the White House promising to provide near universal health coverage was Clinton. Unfortunately, for Clinton the House of Representatives and Senate numbers were not pro-democrat which left him with his hands tied while in office. Starr claims if Clinton wasbeen more confident and bold, and had his presentation not been so ambitious to the senate, he might have been successful.

Paul Starr does not mince words he tells it like it is, as he sees fit. He is not afraid to offend those he seemingly respects such a Clinton. As Starr states we will have to wait and see the outcome of the reformed, health care reform. I feel certain that since the Affordable Care Act finally passed that this is a positive move forward for progress and the American health care system. Starr’s opinion of unfavorable behavior between bipartisan parties being the major factor keeping a universal health care from moving forward is the most accurate statement. Instead of being on opposite sides of the coin, sometimes you need to do that which is morally and ethically right in order to do that which is most good for the greater number of people.


Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2013). Financing and Reimbursement Methods. In M. Garside (Ed.), Essentials of the U.S.Health Care System (3rd ed., pp. 129-157). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Starr, P. (2013). Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle Over Health Care Reform (Rev ed.). : .

[A1]Like that word

[A2]Making the connection

[A3]Good to show where he is coming from.


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