With the inauguration behind us, it’s only a matter of time until we start to see administrative changes that will impact virtually every sector of public life, touching on everything from energy policy to trade regulations. One area that is already gearing up for major change is healthcare. President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, appointed Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services and proposed various measures aimed at increasing competition amongst insurance providers to drive down cost. While only time will tell whether these efforts will produce their intended effect, it is clear serious changes need to be made.
Healthcare costs are simply too high; according to a recent Gallup poll, Americans once again named the cost and access to healthcare as the most urgent health problems facing our nation. Furthermore, healthcare now consumes more than 16 percent of our country’s GDP and exceeds $1.5 trillion in costs. This has facilitated the rise of a bloated bureaucracy with excess administration and regulation – much of which, unfortunately, increases costs while failing to contribute to quality care.
To understand how we got here, we need to look at the history:
1929 is mostly remembered as the year of the stock market crash that sparked the Great Depression, thrusting the United States and the world into the longest and deepest recession of the 20th century. But 1929 was also the year that our modern health insurance system was born, right in the heart of Texas.
Justin Ford Kimball, a former Dallas school superintendent, became the Baylor University official in charge of Dallas hospital units. Kimball offered teachers the opportunity to contribute fifty cents a month to a fund that would guarantee them up to 21 days of care at Baylor Hospital. The success of the “Baylor Plan” encouraged planners to offer community-wide plans, which eventually came to be known as the Blue Cross Plan. [Read more…]