A century of health care reform efforts

1915: American Association for Labor Legislation releases proposal to insure low-income workers and their families. Special interests and fear of socialism kill the plan.

1945: President Truman delivers message to Congress calling for compulsory, single-payer health care program. A bill incorporating Truman’s suggestions dies in the Senate the following year.


1958: Congress begins hearings on health insurance for the elderly.

1960: Congress rejects the Forand Bill, a proposal to provide a limited package of health benefits to the elderly.

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1961: President Kennedy reintroduces Medicare; the bill dies in committee.

1965: Medicare and Medicaid passed by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1971: President Nixon proposes National Health Insurance Partners program, which would have required employers to provide insurance for all full-time workers. The proposal never gets a vote in Congress.


1974: Nixon proposes the Comprehensive Health Insurance Program, including an employer mandate and subsidized coverage. Faced with competing bills, the proposal fails.

1988: President Reagan signs Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act into law, marking the largest expansion of the program since its inception.

1989: Medicare Catastrophic is repealed in the face of massive opposition from citizens who feared their costs would increase.

1993: President Clinton introduces universal health care proposal that dies in Congress the following year.

1997: State Children’s Health Insurance Program, championed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, signed into law by Clinton.

2006: Medicare prescription drug coverage, known as Part D, signed into law by President George W. Bush.

2010: President Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.

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