"The Right to Be Healthy" was
professionally produced in 1971 or early 1972. At that time,
the prospect of national health insurance was a real possibility.
Even President Nixon called for a National Health Insurance plan
in his State of the Union Address in 1971. This "infomercial"
was intended to influence the debate. There was no indication
in the program or on the original tape as to the group that sponsored
its production let alone how it was actually used.
There were several competing plans before
Congress that year. Most of them were National Health Insurance
plans (something Britian has had since the very early years of
the last century); none were proposals for a National Health
System. Nixon's proposal was actually rather close to the poltical
center among all the plans, mandating employment based coverage
through private insurance carriers (subsidies available under
particular circumstances), but including a government run insurance
plan for those not otherwise covered with premiums scaled to
Nixon's proposal would be considered the
left wing of the possible in today's Congress. Consider the similarity
to "ObamaCare" and that Nixon included a "public
option". At the time, there were a variety of other proposals
before Congress, including one backed by the AMA that was mostly
tax credits toward the expense of insurance premiums: sound familiar?
The good doctors apparently felt those too poor to pay taxes
could die or beg; they certainly had no right to be healthy.
Dr. Murray specifically mentions the Kennedy
- Griffiths Plan. This was to have been a national health insurance
system administered by the Federal government. Everyone would
have been covered. It would have been financed by employment
taxes (payroll and self-employment) and by general tax revenues.
None of these proposals passed. To some
extent, they were victims of the election cycle. Oddly enough,
one point that Dr. Murray makes, the need for planning, was
passed by Congress. The government established a system of health
care planning done on a local level by "Health Systems Agencies".
These planning bodies functioned for several years in the 1970s
before being deliberately strangled by a lack of financing. In
some states, some degree of planning remains on a state-wide