Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Richard Nixon proposes National Health Care in 1971

Perhaps you didn't know that way back in February 1971 US President Richard Nixon who eventually resigned in 1974 in the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal proposed a sweeping new National Health Care program to Congress.   And when you read his speech now where he makes his case, he sounds prophetic and dare I say even genius.  Everything he said is still true, other than the statistics he cites which have only grown worse.

Richard Nixon: Special Message to the Congress Proposing a National Health Strategy, February 18, 1971

"It is health which is real wealth," said Gandhi, "and not pieces of gold and silver." That statement applies not only to the lives of men but also to the life of nations. And nations, like men, are judged in the end by the things they hold most valuable.
Not only is health more important than economic wealth, it is also its foundation. It has been estimated, for example, that ten percent of our country's economic growth in the past half century has come because a declining death rate has produced an expanded labor force.
Our entire society, then, has a direct stake in the health of every member. In carrying out its responsibilities in this field, a nation serves its own best interests, even as it demonstrates the breadth of its spirit and the depth of its compassion.
Yet we cannot truly carry out these responsibilities unless the ultimate focus of our concern is the personal health of the individual human being. We dare not get so caught up in our systems and our strategies that we lose sight of his needs or compromise his interests. We can build an effective National Health Strategy only if we remember the central truth that the only way to serve our people well is to better serve each person.
Nineteen months ago I said that America's medical system faced a "massive crisis." Since that statement was made, that crisis has deepened. All of us must now join together in a common effort to meet this crisis--each doing his own part to mobilize more effectively the enormous potential of our health care system.
This points out just how far the right has lurched the last few decades.  The GOP two-time elected President from 41 years ago would be considered a radical left-wing. liberal, socialist, by the standards of today's John Birch Society controlled GOP.

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