Previous Attempts To Overhaul Health Care System Unsuccessful

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The goal of providing affordable health care coverage to all U.S. residents has eluded every president who has attempted to reach it since Theodore Roosevelt first made it an issue in his last presidential campaign in 1912, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports.

According to the AP/Tribune, while the basic issue has not changed, "possible solutions have not evolved either, in part because new proposals seldom build on old ones," such as the stark contrasts between President Clinton's health care plan and President Obama's preferences.

The AP/Tribune briefly highlights attempts to expand coverage made by Presidents:

  • Franklin Roosevelt;
  • Harry Truman;
  • Dwight Eisenhower;
  • John Kennedy;
  • Lyndon Johnson; and
  • Richard Nixon.

The article notes that President George W. Bush's creation of the Medicare prescription drug program included the so-called "doughnut hole" coverage gap to keep costs down, which "points to a chronic challenge in health overhaul efforts: the price of change."

According to the AP/Tribune, Obama must now figure out how to make good on his promise to expand coverage without adding to the deficit (Mears, AP/Chicago Tribune, 8/12).


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