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Post Perspective on Healthcare

Published: August 20, 2012

“Just about every American can cite a personal example of the staggering benefits—and equally staggering costs—of today’s medicine. Here’s mine …” writes Frederick Allen in our September/October 2012 issue.

But were the staggering costs always there? Is today’s medicine better than it was 50 or even 60 years ago? After reading our archival pieces below, we think you’ll be surprised by the similarities in past U.S. healthcare debates and our present-day healthcare concerns.

Illustration by Brian Stauffer

Illustration by Brian Stauffer

Fixing Our Healthcare System

    (Frederick Allen, September/October 2012)

    We spend more money per patient than any other country, yet we are less healthy by far. How did our healthcare system become such a wreck? And what is to be done?

1949 Presbyterian Hospital of New York.

The out-patient Department of New York's Presbyterian Hospital in 1949.

Do You Really Want Socialized Medicine?

    (Steven Spencer, May 28, 1949)

    This article examines the proposed Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill, which sparked the first big debates that captured headlines for almost a decade … sound familiar?

The Doctor Glares at State Medicine

    (Frederic Nelson, December 9, 1944)

    A witty reflection of doctors’ views on socialized medicine and healthcare reform in the postwar era.

1958 Los Angeles Queen of Angels Hospital.

Queen of Angels Hospital, Los Angeles, 1958.

Part I: Health Insurance in 1958

    (Milton Silverman, June 7, 1958)

    Health insurance’s original aim was to protect the public against the financial shock of illness, but it also intended to halt state medicine.

1953 Murder of Thomas Lewis

The 1953 murder investigation of Thomas Lewis led the police on a trail of embezzlement.

Part II: Health Insurance in 1958

    (Milton Silverman, June 14, 1958)

    The 1953 murder of Thomas Lewis, president of a New York janitors’ union, led to the discovery that he was embezzling health-insurance funds from his union members. What happens to good people when the system gets hoodwinked?

1958 Hospital care

In 1958, G.E. introduced the first comprehensive healthcare plan.

Part III: Health Insurance in 1958

    (Milton Silverman, June 21, 1958)

    When it was first proposed to the health insurance industry, comprehensive health insurance was greeted with predictions of doom.

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