The healthcare industry brings together so many amazing things. As future medical professionals, we often think about the altruistic side of things – the saving of lives and the healing of the sick. However, we also have to remember that healthcare is indeed an industry, which makes it a lot more complicated. Hospitals, clinics, and essentially all other healthcare centers are businesses, and the government definitely has a huge impact on the ways in which they can be run. Our legislative and executive branches have worked on healthcare reforms fairly consistently since the nineteenth century, when a bill was first brought forward regarding how the state should handle those with disabilities. On this particular issue, both houses of Congress passed the bill, but it was ultimately vetoed by President Franklin Pierce. Ever since then, our federal government has experienced similar issues. The disunity between the branches of government, combined with frequent changes of administration have created huge hurdles for anyone hoping to pass healthcare reforms.
Take for instance President Bill Clinton. He was elected to his office with very ambitious plans to change the American healthcare system. His efforts were extremely admirable, but not necessarily handled in the best possible manner. He was very aggressive in his approach, setting out to submit a healthcare reform to Congress in just one hundred days, and putting his first lady, Hillary, in charge of it all. This act faced harsh opposition and was never even brought to a vote. Granted, Clinton did come back in his second term and supported the passing of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which expanded federal health insurance to millions of America’s children. Still, his first attempt was perhaps the largest healthcare reform failure in history.
On the flip side of that, our nation has recently seen some success in healthcare reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was successfully passed on March 23, 2010. This was the culmination of so many years of attempted healthcare reform, so simply getting it passed was a huge accomplishment. While it still is far from perfect, it has definitely helped millions of people so far and has paved the road for future reforms as well.