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Copyright (c) 2012 Duquesne University
Duquesne Law Review

THE HEALTH CARE ISSUE: EMERGING ISSUES IN HEALTH CARE REFORM AT THE FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL LEVELS: ESSAY: The Inevitability of Health Reform

Spring, 2012

Duquesne Law Review

50 Duq. L. Rev. 235

Author

Everette James* and Arthur S. Levine+

Excerpt



I. Introduction

Since Teddy Roosevelt called for national insurance and declared that "no country can be strong if its people are sick and poor," 1 we have been in a continual process of reforming the United States health care system. In 1965, when it became apparent that the elderly, poor, and disabled in America could no longer afford health care, we passed Medicare and Medicaid. 2 The Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973 was signed into law as one of many federal and state attempts to try to control health costs. 3 In 1997, recognizing that some ten million children in the United States were living without health insurance, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was enacted. 4 In 2003, Medicare Part D expanded prescription drug coverage to seniors. 5 Then, in 2010, with the number of uninsured Americans nearing fifty million people, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as "ObamaCare" ("Affordable Care Act"), became the latest law of the land. 6 Although the Affordable Care Act itself may do relatively little to directly control health costs, it is likely to do so indirectly, and its passage in the midst of a recession and a federal budget crisis has served to bring urgency to a fundamental question for our economy and our people: How can we provide quality care for all patients and at the same time bend the unsustainable cost curve of the United States health care system?

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