Rik Schneider Online

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CBS News: CBS Evening News- President Richard Nixon vs. Senator Ted Kennedy on Health Care


If you look at what President Richard Nixon proposed in health care reform in 1974 to Congress and you look at what Senator Ted Kennedy wanted to do then and perhaps his whole Congressional career, the debate then between President Nixon and Senator Kennedy is very similar to the debate that President Barack Obama had with the Democratic Socialist faction of his party in 2009-10. Except one difference being that President Nixon being a Republican obviously and a Conservative Republican to a certain extent. Someone who didn't believe in empowering the Federal Government and expanding it generally in the economy. With the Environmental Protection Agency and price controls being major exceptions to this.

And Senator Ted Kennedy who I would describe as a Democratic Socialist who believed in social insurance programs and the welfare state. And in protecting them and even expanding them. Health care being a perfect example of this as he was in favor of a single payer health insurance system. With Medicare being the only health insurer for the whole country. But what President Nixon offered and I give him a lot of credit especially as a Conservative Republican for taking on health care reform an issue that the Democratic Party has owned at least since the creation of Medicare in 1965.

But what the Nixon Administration offered looks very similar to what President Obama worked out with the Democratic Congress in 2010. The Nixon Administration essentially created our employer sponsored health insurance system. Where a lot of American workers get their health insurance today. And for a long time through their employer. And what President Nixon wanted to do in health insurance was to expand it to millions of Americans who couldn't afford health insurance on their own. Or couldn't afford their employers health insurance plan. President Nixon's program was essentially private health insurance expansion through workers employers. Which is what the ACA is with a Patients Bill of Rights built into it as well and a health insurance mandate.

So to call the Affordable Care Act extreme or socialist, or anything like that is nonsense. It's a very mainstream approach to health insurance reform. That was started in 1974 in the Nixon Administration and then later proposed again in 1993-94 with then Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole a republican obviously. Along with then Senator John Chaffey a Northeastern Republican during the failed Clinton health care reform debate then. That President Clinton now admits that he regrets not taking the Senate Republican compromise in health care reform.

Which didn't go nearly far enough from what President Clinton originally proposed in 1993. But would've given him a victory in this debate and an accomplishment. And a chance to fight round two of health care reform in his presidency and build off of the first bill. And perhaps even saving the Democratic Congress in 1994. But of course we will never know. Senator Kennedy clearly didn't like the Nixon health Care reform plan as this video indicates. But it's hardly an extreme proposal proposed by right-wing Extremists. Because the Dole/Chaffey health care plan in 1993-94 would've build off of the employer sponsored health insurance system. And what was in the Nixon plan, a lot of it is in the 2010 Affordable Care Act.