“It Is Time the United States Caught Up”

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, TNR has a cool feature today wherein it is republishing a long series of TNR articles on health care policy dating all the way back to 1916, along with a timeline of objective steps towards federally-guaranteed health coverage.

One article that really jumps out at you was adapted from a speech delivered in June of 1963, and was published by TNR on November 9 of that year, just before the author, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. Here’s a paragraph that still rings true, even as conservatives shriek about socialized medicine and the tyranny of expecting everyone to contribute towards a national health insurance pool:

There isn’t a country in Western Europe that didn’t do what we are doing 50 years ago or 40 years ago, not a single country that is not way ahead of this rich, productive, progressive country of ours. We are not suggesting something radical and new or violent. We are not suggesting that the government come between the doctor and his patient. We are suggesting what every other major, developed, intelligent country did for its people a generation ago. I think it is time the United States caught up.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.