Half a Century of Health Care Crisis (And Counting)

Half a Century of Health Care Crisis (And Counting)
AP Photo/File

A recent Wall Street Journal article predicted that health care costs will reach 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and it included a series of charts showing how and why costs have risen. Alas, the newspaper, like the health policy field, failed to note an important date coinciding with the latest dire predictions: We are now in the fiftieth year of the official US health care crisis. 

Health care costs had been an on-and-off concern for decades when, on July 10, 1969, President Richard Nixon proclaimed, “We face a massive crisis in this area.” Without prompt administrative and legislative action, he added at a special press briefing, “we will have a breakdown in our medical care system.” 

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