As any health administrator knows, health insurance is central to the American health care system. Health insurance, though, has been a politically charged topic for decades. Efforts to overthrow the current health insurance system in the U.S. have met with failure; even the health care reform legislation passed in 2010 doesn’t end the health insurance system as Americans know it. There are changes to the way health insurance companies do things, but nothing to dramatically alter the way the system functions. And, of course, there is a fight underway to repeal the health care reform bill.
But what is it about health insurance and health care that prompts such strong feelings in Americans? To get an idea of why health insurance is such a hot button topic in the United States, and where the debate over the roll health insurance companies and the government should play in the future of health care is going, it can help to have some historical perspective. Whether or not you work in health administration, the history of health insurance is fascinating. Here are some resources that can help you learn more about health insurance in America:
These timelines offer a variety of insights into health insurance in America, including attempts to introduce universal health care and health care reform. Here are great snapshots of the history of health insurance in the U.S.
- Healthcare Crisis: Healthcare Timeline: PBS offers this timeline of health care in America, including information on the development of health insurance.
- A History of Overhauling Health Care: You can find information about efforts to change health care, introduce health insurance and then reform the insurance system over the years. Interactive.
- Health care timeline: Multimedia presentation of health care and health insurance in America.
- Timeline: History of Health Reform Efforts in the U.S.: This interactive timeline takes you through the development of health insurance and health care reform in the U.S.
- Health Insurance Development Timeline: This Google search result is quite helpful, showing the development of health insurance. You can look at an overview, or jump to specific sets of years.
- Controversial Moments in the History of U.S. Health Care (Timeline): A look at health care, health insurance and the most controversial moments.
- Presidential influence on health care reform throughout the 20th century: Find out what different presidents have done to influence the health care system.
- Health-Care Reform in America: The Wall Street Journal offers a look at the history of health care and health insurance.
If you are interested in various viewpoints related to health insurance in America, these resources can be enlightening. Includes policy arguments, essays on the history of health insurance and health care and more.
- History of Health Insurance: RandomHistory.com provides an in-depth look at health insurance, including the history of modern health insurance in the U.S.
- History of Health Insurance Benefits: A look at health insurance benefits in the U.S.
- Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance – In 1798: At Forbes, a contention that health insurance mandates are a time honored tradition in America.
- Thomas Jefferson supported ‘government run health care’: An interesting look at efforts made in the early days of the U.S. to get some system of health care run by the government.
- Gaps in Health Insurance: An All-American Problem: The Commonwealth Fund offers a look at the history of coverage gaps in health insurance.
- Whence And Whither Health Insurance? A Revisionist History: Health Affairs offers an essay on the history of health insurance.
- Preëxisting Condition: This commentary in The New Yorker describes one of the early hits to health insurance and health care reform.
- Accidents of History Created U.S. Health System: NPR provides a look at the history of health insurance, and how we ended up with this system.
The cost of health insurance is of huge interest to Americans. The increasing cost of health insurance, as well as the impacts the rising costs have on individuals and the economy can provide interesting insight into historical trends — and where we might be headed.
- How the Health Care Plan Costs Add Up: An interesting infographic showing future history of health care reform.
- Health Insurance in the United States: An interesting economic history of health insurance in the U.S., including rising costs.
- A little history of health care and insurance: Dr. Michael Warren offers a brief history of the rise in health costs and insurance costs.
- U.S. Health Care Costs: A look at the recent history of increases in health care costs and health insurance costs.
- A Short History of Health Care: The development of the current U.S. health insurance system, with emphasis on the costs.
- Rise in Health Care Spending Down, But Not Out: A look at recent history of health insurance premiums.
- Why Health-Insurance Premiums Rise While Insurers Sit on Piles of Cash: Find out the history behind why health insurance companies can raise premiums.
Health Care Reform 2010
Find out more about the health care reform legislation passed in 2010, and what it entails. A look at changes that health insurance companies will have to abide by if the legislation remains in effect, and some of the changes made to the industry.
- When health care reform will affect you: A look at when different provisions in the health care reform legislation will take place.
- Health Care Reform Bill Summary: Hotsheet of what’s in the health care reform bill.
- How Will Health Care Reform Affect Your Wallet?: A look at how individuals might be affected.
- Should health-care reform be repealed?: Considers whether or not health care reform should be rolled back. Brief summary of both sides of the argument.
- 6 Reasons Obama-Care Is Bad Medicine: Chuck Norris, in Human Events, explains why the health care reform efforts are a bad idea.
- Timeline of health care reform: Things may get worse before they get better: Issues that may plague health care reform in the future.
Health Care and Health Insurance in Other Countries
For those interested in learning more about how the history of health insurance compares to the development of health care systems in other countries, these resources can be quite helpful. Learn more about how the U.S. system of health insurance works in comparison with other countries’ systems.
- France Fights Universal Care’s High Cost: The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the rising cost of the health care system in France.
- Universal Health Care in Other Countries: Considers different versions of national health insurance in other countries.
- How Does Canada’s Health System Actually Work?: Explores the realities of Canada’s health system.
- History Of Tinkering Helps German System Endure: A history of health insurance in Germany — and how its nationalized system works.
- Health care in Australia: A history of Australian health care and an overview of how it works today.
- U.S. Healthcare Spending vs The Globe: An interesting infographic comparing health care spending in the U.S. with other countries.