Today, as Senate Republicans unveil the latest draft of their proposed health care legislation, we are taking a look back at stories about health care. Two news stories reported by Doug Adams in 1979 echo many of the nation’s current debates and concerns over access to health care.
A news story from April 23, 1979 describes efforts by community members to set up additional health care centers in poverty stricken areas of east and south Dallas, to ameliorate the “poor health statistics” in the area. In the story, a resident describes overcrowding at Parkland Memorial, the nearest hospital. Those advocating for better health care in Dallas appear to be associated with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
In this news story from February 5, 1979, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Jimmy Carter, spoke to the Dallas County Democratic Forum about the need to curb inefficient hospital spending. The legislation Califano mentions in the story is H.R.2626, part of the Carter administration’s larger war on inflation. The bill failed in the House on November 15, 1979, with the Senate Finance Committee approving a revision of solely Medicare and Medicaid payments. White House Press Secretary Jody Powell described the House action as “victory for the highly financed special interest [hospital] lobby and a defeat for the common good.”