Did you know that before 1973 it was illegal in the US to profit off of health care. The Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973 passed by Nixon changed everything.

Is the health insurance business a racket? Yes, literally. And this is why the shameless pandering to robber baron corporations posing as “health providers” is such an egregious … and obvious … tactic to do nothing more than plump up insurance company profits.

And do you know who’s to blame?   Believe it or not, the downfall of the American health insurance system falls squarely on the shoulders of former President Richard M. Nixon.
In 1973, Nixon did a personal favor for his friend and campaign financier, Edgar Kaiser, then president and chairman of Kaiser-Permanente.  Nixon signed into law, the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973, in which medical insurance agencies, hospitals, clinics and even doctors, could begin functioning as for-profit business entities instead of the service organizations they were intended to be.  And which insurance company got the first taste of federal subsidies to implement HMOA73 … *gasp* … why, it was Kaiser-Permanente!   What are the odds?  It’s all right here to read for yourself.
And to perfectly cement HMOA73 as the profiteering boondoggle that it actually was, the law Nixon mandated also included clauses that encouraged medical providers to not CURE afflictions, but to PROLONG them by only treating the symptoms. There’s no money to be made in CURING sickness.  But the sky’s the limit when it comes to forcing people to endure repetitive doctor visits, endless (and often useless and redundant) tests, and … of course … let’s not forget the ever-increasing demand for American-made prescription drugs!
Have you noticed recently that the words “prolonged coma” and DEATH have wormed their way into the fast-spoken side-effects list of just about every new drug you see on television or hear on the radio?  Death!  From the medicine that’s supposed to cure you!  You know what?  I’ll take restless legs over DEATH.
So it’s an arms race between insurers, who deploy software and manpower trying to find claims they can reject, and doctors and hospitals, who deploy their own forces in an effort to outsmart or challenge the insurers. And the cost of this arms race ends up being borne by the public, in the form of higher health care prices and higher insurance premiums. Of course, rejecting claims is a clumsy way to deny coverage. The best way for an insurer to avoid paying medical bills is to avoid selling insurance to people who really need it. An insurance company can accomplish this in two ways, through marketing that targets the healthy, and through underwriting: Rejecting the sick or charging them higher premiums.  See the pattern?

Another sweet sweet moment in history.


Greed has NEVER played a part in it. Oh, wait…
I’m certain it was a completely necessary to raise prices on a 65 year old drug, suddenly, by over 1000%.

h/t  TwoDimesMove


162 thoughts on “Did you know that before 1973 it was illegal in the US to profit off of health care. The Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973 passed by Nixon changed everything.

  1. HOW can INSURANCE companies post RECORD PROFIT year after year AND STILL RAISE their rate to the consumers?…When Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old CEO who raised the price of the AIDS drug from $13 per pill to over $700 per pill CONGRESS could not and would not do a single thing about it except for calling him in and questioning him about it……WE NEED LEGISLATION ON THE BOOKS or you may talk about it forever and we know the REPUBLICAN party has no intentions of stopping any wall street GREED…….

    • let’s not forget, too, that most of these drugs for which the pharmaceuticals are reaming us, were paid for by us as well. most drugs on the market were developed using government funding (ie paid it was paid for by folks like you & me) and, in recognition for our generous contributions, we get to contribute even more!

      • Congress passed a law saying Medicad insurance users could only get RX from US Drug companies…..so the drug companies raised their rates because of no competition.

        • And with GW bush they also passed a law prohibiting Medicare from negotiating lower prices through bulk purchases in 2003 – because Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to do just that, like EVERY other democracy does to save money for their universal health care programs. That’s a big reason we pay more than $9500 per person on health care, while leaving 30 million uninsured while the other 35 democracies with UHC pay about $4500 per person to cover everyone.

    • Look up the origins of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973 and which party created it and who controlled both houses of congress.

      • Democrats controlled both Houses. Bill was sponsored by Ted Kennedy and Co-sponsored by 16 others, 14 of those 16 were Democrats. 🙂 Sen. Magnuson, Warren G. [D-WA] Sen. Williams, Harrison A., Jr. [D-NJ] Sen. Javits, Jacob K. [R-NY] Sen. Brooke, Edward W. [R-MA] Sen. Cranston, Alan [D-CA] Sen. Hart, Philip A. [D-MI] Sen. Hughes, Harold E. [D-IA] Sen. Humphrey, Hubert H. [D-MN] Sen. Metcalf, Lee [D-MT] Sen. Mondale, Walter F. [D-MN] Sen. Moss, Frank E. [D-UT] Sen. Pell, Claiborne [D-RI] Sen. Randolph, Jennings [D-WV] Sen. Ribicoff, Abraham A. [D-CT] Sen. Stevenson, Adlai E., III [D-IL] Sen. Tunney, John V. [D-CA]

        • It’s time we stopped worrying so much about who did what and stop these rich jackasses from stealing us all blind and killing us when we can no longer afford to pay.

          • WOW first you have to understand the HISTORY and the FACTS to know who to be made at MORON

          • Good point Maria. Another thing that so many people fail to realize when they try to politicize something like this is that the parties evolve. My great grandfather refused to vote democrat because they were LYNCHING PEOPLE IN THE STREETS, the party has changed over time. The fact is however the wealthy people running the government are able to stay in control when they can keep us divided over frivolous things (like skin color, sex orientation, policitcal party etc.) That way we will never unite against them.

      • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is a term first conceived of by Dr. Paul M. Ellwood, Jr The concept for the HMO Act began with discussions Ellwood and his Interstudy group members had with Nixon administration advisors who were looking for a way to curb medical inflation. Ellwood’s work led to the eventual HMO Act of 1973
        In 1970 Ellwood was invited to consult with President Nixon’s staff to reshape national health policy, where he advanced the idea of giving consumers a choice among health plans that would compete on price and quality. He coined the term Health Maintenance Organization, or HMO, to describe groups of physicians who were pre-paid on a per-patient basis (capitation) instead of a fee-for-service arrangement. While the term “HMO” was Ellwood’s, this institutional model already existed in the form of the non-profit Kaiser health plan in California. Ellwood argued that creating a system of many competing HMOs would give health providers an incentive to keep patients well while driving down health care costs.
        Hence, The birth for “For Profit Healthcare” or more precisely, Capitalist Healthcare.

    • Easy. They can’t. They don’t. Their profit margins are actually quite small. (Look it up.) But as the companies get bigger — pushed by governmental program, and added to the increase in health care costs — their measly 3 percent profit becomes a bigger number.
      Sadly, there are a lot of damn fools who won’t or can’t do arithmetic and just fall for what someone tells them. Like this notion, that people didn’t make profit on health care before Nixon.
      Seriously, you think all those old country doctors only took enough money to pay for needles and drugs? Don’t be goddamn fools.

      • I was just going to post the same thing about the fools. You are right on with the 3%. But the fools will then go and start talking total amounts, which is a different representation of numbers. I’ll post the link but people will still not understand that it wasn’t about allowing to make money. Fee for service insurance plans had been making money for decades before the 1973 Act.
        Is it getting easier to fool people or are people becoming just plain stupid?!?!

      • US has the highest administration cost in its healthcare system: 30% – Japan less than 10%, Swiss less than 5%. Guess what – those countries don’t have the disease called: CEO!

          • NO, they capped them out at 20% profit with 10% administrative costs. Before obamacare some of the insurance companies were topping out OVER 40%. More republican lies. As if obamacare isn’t weak enough, but it’s better than what we had. And far better than any of these horrible programs put forth by the GOP.

          • And when the administrative costs go up, they raise the premiums. And when they raise the premiums, what happens? that 10 percent is more money, which lets them pay the administrative costs.
            This whole arithmetic thing is really hard for you, isn’t it?

          • When insurance is eliminated from the equation, costs go way down. This whole non-profit administrative approach used by every other democracy in the world is really too complicated for your pointy little fox news brainwashed head to absorb, isn’t it, you snide POS?

          • Hon, I’ve been writing about health insurance for ten years. Now, nothing whatsoever of what you’re saying is supported by actual facts, and in fact the example of the NHS in the UK led to the observation of Gammon’s Law (google it) which showed that administrative costs rose to consume all increases in funding at NHS. And you still can’t or won’t do 4th-grade arithmetic, so I’m unmoved by what you think is complicated.

          • who has a “democracy” on this planet?
            I know of lots of “republics” and I would love to here about how well a “democracy” works in the modern age – with everyone voting on everything.

          • If you have information with which you could educate people commenting, why would you present it like such a schmuck? I’m interested in what you’re saying, but when you’re nasty and insulting, I don’t want to read it. How about sharing it without the editorializing? You might reach a few people and that’s a good thing, right?

          • Because people who can’t or won’t do division — and hell. I even gave them a link to Google’s calculator — aren’t listening anyway.

          • Well, if you don’t wish to inform and people “aren’t listening anyway,” I guess you’re just venting your spleen – over and over and over again, based on the number of times you’ve commented. Seems like a lose-lose situation for you. It’s too bad, because you appear to have good and thoughtful information, but no one will ever pay attention to it. Good luck, Chas.

          • Yes thanks. Also, I’m getting a lot of those people who don’t like doing the math to self-identify.

          • Don’t feed the trolls Beth. While he’s busy listening to the propaganda and indulging in his own form of congnitive dissonance as he attempts to mansplain to you “hon”, as he put it, you are wasting your breath trying to convince him of anything. Fight the fights you can win.

          • What you provided was an analysis on the cost-effectiveness of insurance-administered health care. This requires analytical and cognitive thinking skills to comprehend and assess, NOT ARITHMETIC SKILLS. To employ arithmetic skills you need numbers to work with and you provided none, only your own misguided personal analysis of the health care delivery construct. Truth is, if it was a math test I’d run triangles around your pointy little head, Mr. Triangle Mann, based on your “understanding” and falsely claimed expertise in the discipline. If you had any relevant math skills at all you would be able to quickly comprehend that it’s not better for the consumer to pay a 30% overhead for insurance-run health care as opposed to the 5% overhead needed to operate gov’t run Medicare. Only a shill or someone employed in the health insurance profiteering scam would argue on your side. Since you’ve called into question my arithmetic skills, let’s analyze your abilities: First, to figure the area of a triangle (your head, where I assume you hide your gray matter) we use the formula: A= 1/2bh, or the area within the triangle is equal to the base times the height divided by 2. Since it’s obvious you’re squarely (odd fit for triangles, I know … maybe that is part of why your argument falls flat) in the conservative propaganda realm, sold out to the corporate-driven concept of privatization of all gov’t services and the fact that your beliefs are driven by gut feeling and protecting your own livelihood (the insurance racket) and not driven by humanity, sensible thinking or the value of universal health care to society as a whole, your political stance is decidedly base instinct generated and nothing gets baser that the base agenda of conservatives, so for your base score you get zero.
            Next element of the equation is height. We all know that mental midgets have an infinitesimally small stature, so to determine your cranial capacity we multiply zero (b) times the infinitesimally small number of height (h) divided by two. I’m sorry Mr. Mann, but your mental capacity score shows a serious intellectual deficit. Unless you’re seeking public pity, Mr. T. Mann, I’d suggest you refrain from any further attempts at engaging educated people in debate. To better understand yourself, I suggest “Particle Man’ by They Might be Giants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsAiCs66l40

          • No, what I originally provided was the point that taking the CEOs WHOLE SALARY wouldn’t make any difference. To show this requires only long division. NOw, there are a number of reasons why doing day-to-day care through insurance. The trick is, every one of those reasons is a reason why doing it through single-payer is even more stupid. I haven’t written about in length in the comments because (1) I gave sufficient hints to look it up yourself, and (2) I get *paid* for writing long explanations of things.
            And if you don’t like my answers, I think you have several options: (1) grow a skin; (2) wear a helmet; or (3) get out.

          • I think it was about six years ago I wrote a letter to Obama addressing his shortcomings (in my opinion at least) and shared it with my friend JoAnne. She wrote back to me with the same response that you did. She’s still my friend, but now she’s my fiancee too and owns my heart. If I had a second heart I might give it to you … well, maybe if I had another body to put it in; I”m sure you wouldn’t want to be lugging somebody’s heart around with you. Anyway, thanks for digging up a pleasant memory and the sweet compliment too.

      • I remember 4 doctors during my earlier years. Doctor Brown of Henniker, Dr Eileen Levis from warner A amazing Woman Doctor who went to anywhere she was needed She was a founding member of Doctors without borders. Doctor Stone from Bradford- a real hardass nana said. Dr Dennis Maryn of Newport All were Country Doctors Would take care of you no matter what All would fight for each and everyone of the community against all odds. Today Doctors are held hostage by a plethora of threats on their financial security their health and forcing them to medically endanger or cause prolonged exploitation for the benifit of interests outside of the doctor patient intimacy blatantly interfering in the health and wellbeing of every American and their Guests.

      • Sir, profit is what’s left after expenses, and wages are part of the expenses, including those million dollar packages paid to the CEOs.

        • Okay, so let’s try this bit of higher math, called “long division”: what proportion of the total expenditures does the CEO’s pay represent?

          • Why would you want to keep health insurance companies involved anyway, unless you’re a paid troll? It benefits no one, except for the insurance companies themselves. We are the only country in the world that lets them administer health care to the public. And that’s why we pay double per person than every other democracy and still have 30 million uninsured and 100 million under-insured while they have none. And your argument of “they wait longer for treatment” has proven to be a lie perpetrated by the insurance companies themselves, so don’t go there without doing some research. Insurance rackets have no business administering health care except to rake in profits, some of which they spend on buying off politicians to protect their obscene profits. And they increase their profits by denying customers treatment, serving as the real “death panels.” Insurance takes 30% off the top of our health care funding, while gov’t run Medicare works on less than 5%. That’s a ton of health care money down the drain that could be spent on lowering prices and providing more health care. When drugs are bought in bulk and gov’ts negotiate cheaper prices as every other democracy does, again, we the tax payer/consumer get more bang for our buck. This is how privatization robs the people. Remember, privatization is the favored method of “smaller government” as proposed by the corporate loving whores of the Republican Party and DNC dummycrats like Pelosi and Clinton.

          • I don’t. Using “insurance” to pay for events that happen with probability near one is supernaturally stupid, an approach only a government could love. Almost as stupid as not using long division to notice that your idea is arithmetic-impaired.

          • if you’re unable to have an intelligent discussion OR refrain from insults, then fuckyouchuck you ignorant troll.

          • Gooly, all those years of graduate school, and I’m surmounted by Buttercup with *another* fourth-grade insult.

        • The top five CEOs average about $40 million a year in pay and bonuses each year. Hemsley of United Health Care gets something like $65 million a year.

      • 3% is medicare overhead not private healthcare.
        Try at least 30%
        If we passed Medicare for all we would save 27% right off the top before all the other savings.

    • Have you forgotten that those prices were raised during Obamas presidency and after the ACA was implemented. What exactly did Obama do about that. Nothing. Stop blaming Republicans for everything going wrong with the government. Obama had both the House and a Senate for the first two years of his presidency. He could have signed one of his executive orders. He did not. Not only that, but those greedy insurance companies make a Three to five percent profit margin. And, as was stated above it wasn’t until the federal government got involved that the premiums started skyrocketing. Nixon signed the bill but it was Ted Kennedy who drafted the legislatoin and was the chief sponsor of the bill that created all these giant for profit corporations.

      • COULDA ,WOULDA SHOULDA,, Your crystal ball may be cloudy get better tea leaves,,Obamacare can NOT RAISE your insurance rates even if they wanted to ONLY INSURANCE COMPANIES can do that’ HOW can INSURANCE companies post RECORD PROFIT year after year AND STILL RAISE their rate to the consumers?…

          • Under Obamacare, they must spend 80% of premiums on healthcare. If not, they have to return money to customers. I got annual checks equal to about one months premium from my overpriced, crappy insurance after the ACA was passed,

      • Total BS My insurance rates have been steadily increasing for 30 years. They did NOT increase any more under the ACA than they did before.

        • My rates rose from $30 to over $200 between 2008-2010 (Obama was elected in 2008 and ACA was passed in 2010).
          It’s safe to say the insurance companies knew ACA was going to pass and the extra charges were in anticipation of being forced to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

        • No, that isn’t BS. My insurance was $176 per month with a $25.00 co-pay for an office visit and $5.00 for prescriptions. Under Obamacare it went instantly to $342 per month with a $6000 deductible no co-pays, no help with medicine. I had to reach the $6000 deductible. It was going up 62% this year again. I chose to bow out and pay the fine.

      • The rate of medical premium increase went down under Obamacare compared to the rate under bush and clinton. It slowed the rise in costs for healthcare. Obamacare has problems, so lets fix them. If this was called Romneycare, no one would be talking about repeal, they would be passing bills to improve it. Obamacare is based on Mitt Romney’s Republican plan. Republicans are playing politics with American lives.

        • Again that is not true. Premiums have been doubling and tripling since Obamacare took affect. The notion that it slowed the rate of increases is a lie and was put out by Obama and the media. I have a friend who works for United Health Care. The number one cost to insurance agencies is frivolous lawsuits filed for everything from a hangnail on up by greedy attorneys and clients who make themselves rich while passing that cost onto consumers. The ACA did nothing to address that. There is no fixing the ACA. It is imploding on its own. It was designed to fail because the left assumed Hillary Clinton would be elected to office and they could scrap the ACA and go to single payer system run by the government of course. This failure is completely on the Democrats. Our country was based on free market and capitalism. It made us the richest and greatest country in the world. Time for government to get out of the insurance business and let the free markets correct this mess.

          • I don’t know why anybody believes Obama about anything but especially the ACA. He lied about that from day 1. It’s not a big stretch to believe that he, like Gruber, thinks the “stupidity” of his supporters was vital to him getting away with those lies.

          • Hilarious…Too much Breitbart and not enough critical thinking make a disaster. Surely you didn’t have to do anything other than listen to alternate facts and fake news to become so full of it.

      • That’s because the ACA mandates a minimum coverage. Before that insurance companies sold crappy policies that were cheaper. And the ACA required funding to offset increased insurance prices, which they knew were coming because so many millions had no insurance before the ACA and had unmet health care needs that would finally be met. But the repubs cheated on the law’s promises to subsidize the insurance companies for the increased costs, in part so they could say “obamacare is failing” and the insurance companies were forced to raise their prices to cover the increased costs. We had some 60 million people without health care before the ACA, that’s a lot of unhealthy people looking for treatment flooding the market because the free market insurance racket was failing.

      • I thus blame both Republicans and Democrats equally, but mostly Republicans since they’re the most blood-thirsty of the lot. The corporate Democrats are namsy-pamsy limp dishcloths. They’ll get the Republican ball rolling, nudge it a few inches, and hand it off to the nearest Republican. Then they’ll say, “Golly, those Republicans are bad!” I say gut the whole system, execute the insurance CEO’s in the street, and nationalize the whole thing.

    • Daniel. Nice to blame Republicans for everything. Always the Republicans fault in liberal loon land. First of all Nixon didn’t draft legislation for the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973. That was drafted by a leftie by the name of Ted Kennedy and passed in a bi-partisan manner by BOTH parties. Secondly, Martin Shireli raised the prices to an astronomical amount under Obamas watch and when Democrats had control of both houses. Again, not the Republicans fault. Perhaps you might want to educate yourself a little bit before you cast blame. Both parties are equally at fault, not just one. But if you want a tidbit more of information, guess which parties those greedy pharmaceutical companies contribute to the most. Hint: it isn’t the Republicans.

    • You do Realize that Insurance Companies actually don’t make any money off just the PREMIUMS…LOOK IT UP….Insurance companies collect money then pool the money to cover claims and do LONG TERM INVESTING and that’s where they make the money…plus then need a lot of customers the spread the RISK to a manageable level…This was taught in High School in the 70’s and early 80’s that I know about….obviously you were taught by “PROGRESSIVES” that insurance is evil

  2. According to Wikipedia “The principal sponsor of the federal HMO Act was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (MA).” So it seems it was supported by both major political parties at the time.

    • Don, because of your post, I set out to investigate this. Ted Kennedy had a reputation for long standing for affordable health care, in part because of health issues of one of his sons and his realization that while he, as a Kennedy, could afford expensive health care that less well-off people could not and that that was not acceptable. Everything in the text and analyses of the legislation creating feasibility trials for HMOs is in keeping with his philosophy. Danged if I can see in the legislation where the health care turned to profit idea exists.

      • I think this article is in error. I read in a book by David Cay Johnson that said it was Reagan who promoted for profit. Kaiser to this day is non-profit. Also, Nixon proposed a national health care bill that was better than Obamacare because it was more comprehensive.

        • Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), the law barring hospitals from turning away patients on grounds of their insurance or citizenship?—?a preview of Obamacare’s ban on insurance discrimination against individuals with preexisting conditions. Second, Reagan doubled the size of Medicaid over the course of his presidency to pay for all of those new uninsured patients?—?a huge Obamacare-style Medicaid expansion. Third, Reagan pushed something called Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), which essentially had the government set the prices Medicare was willing to pay for each Medicare admission rather than pay for reimbursing doctors per cost. DRGs cut Medicare costs by $49 billion by 1986, proving a promising trial for the sorts of Medicare payment reform policies you can find in Obamacare.

      • I thought Ted Kennedy was pretty active in getting Medicare and Medicaid started. I maybe mistaken, need to check into it again.

      • Yes it was why Ted and Carter hated each other. Ted Kennedy wanted debt free healthcare for all Americans while the other guy wanted insurance companies involved.

    • Congress at the time was over 55% Democrat (56% Senate, 55.5% House), and had been under Dem control since 1955.

      • Does it really matter to argue over “who did it” (which btw changes… you cannot just exchange one Republican for another… too bad, as there were caring, feeling, intelligent Republicans in the past… nor Democrats)… that is like a bunch of little boys saying “But BOBBY! It was Bobby’s IDEA!” “But Billy, it was Billy who STARTED IT!” “But Matt, it was Matt’s father who said it was OK!”… The point is that before 1973 there was NO FOR PROFIT INSURANCE INDUSTRY IN THE USA. It is a scam that needs to be killed off, asap, that benefits the nation not one iota, but rather ends up with a lot of sick and injured and dying people who cost a big buck and cannot contribute to society, while they suffer.
        Right now almost every company and lobbyist contributes to BOTH sides in an election, as they want to have their foot in the door to writing laws that benefit them, no matter which one wins. It is not a partisan problem.

      • That is true but realize that the Democrats and Republicans of 1955 are NOT the same parties as today. They have virtually swapped positions on many issues.

  3. And thanks to for profit enterprises we have some of the best health care in the world (that is if you do not need obabmacare). This for profit has allowed Doctor’s offices to install and use the latest gadgets from simple xray machines to all sorts of machines to detect all sorts of things. Many Doctor’s offices now do what you had to go to a hospital in previous times. Profit is not a bad thing. It allows insurers to take more pool risks as well and this help millions of folks. Don’t subscribe to being a Social Democrat (where the gov’t taxes those that have to give to those that have not).

    • Perhaps the term here should be profiteering. Graduate schools funded by, yes, taxes could do the job and not be hampered by the profit motive. In that case we’d likely have cures, or at least treatments, for some of the rare diseases the pharma people have ignored because there’d be no profit in it. The very idea that some of the richest people in our USA do nothing of value, but still profit from the misery of others should bring you pause.

    • you’re assuming that the insurance company will allow you to have the work done at your primary care physician’s office

    • And we have the most expensive healthcare in the world too, and the wealthiest CEOS on the planet, There are MANY developed countries with healthcare just as good, and often better. Profit is not a bad thing. Greed and abuse is, and that’s what is going on. But I don’t expect anyone like you who slips in a bash at the ACA or who spits out phrases like “Social Democrat” as if that were an insult, without an iota of knowledge of what you’re angry about to grasp that simple concept. God Bless.

      • “There are MANY developed countries with healthcare just as good, and often better.”?
        REALLY? Please list some?

        • Funny, Trump just told Australia (which has single payer) that their healthcare is better. But yeah, as someone who is self-employed and often broke though hardworking, we would have no healthcare, and especially not the surgery and orthodontics that my son needs due to congenital birth defects, if we lived in the US. Who cares if you have fancy healthcare, inaccessible to most? Or causing others to bankrupt?

        • EVERY developed nation on earth has universal healthcare, except the US. We pay 30 to 50% more per capita for health care than does any other nation, yet the citizens of 36 other countries live longer than American citizens. “Best health care in the world”, my sweet Aunt Fannie!

        • Are you seriously asking
          that? ????
          A 2014 report from the Commonwealth Fund revealed continued trends that were along the same lines—despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the interim. In the report, the US “ranked last overall among 11 industrialized countries on measures of health system quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and healthy lives.” Significantly, the US was noted to have the highest costs while also displaying the lowest performance.

    • We do not have any of the best healthcare in the world. In terms of cardiac care, OB care, infant mortality and dialysis, to name just a few, we are no where near the top in terms of quality. Where we do shine though, is in dollars spent…and we are not getting our money’s worth. Where are all those health care dollars going? I think they are enriching those who own the insurance companies. BTW, Kaiser is non-profit.

    • Bob Lindstrom, you have some good points. But did you give that last sentence any thogut at all? Do you have any kind of group insurance? Any kind of group insurance is socialized, more or less. Your premium goes toward helping other people. So whether the insurance companies mandate it, or the government, what is the big difference? You’ll pay far more than the government mandate during a year to an insurance company that charges high premiums with a low co-pay.

  4. interesting how, despite the fact that kaiser is responsible for this whole mess we’ve found ourselves in, if you’re in the kaiser system, you will note how much it runs like a single payer health system would run

    • Kaiser’s not responsible for our healthcare system’s malfunction and there were for profit insurance companies before 1973. The article is incorrect.

  5. After reading the Wiki article, the statement issued by Nixon, a 1975 Rand Corporation analysis of the HMO act of 1973 which details each section of the act, the text itself (located in the tiny pdf link in the text box to the right of the Wiki article), and several other in depth analyses, I’m not seeing is any evidence that there were clauses in the act that would say it was okay to profit from providing HMOs — the feasibility trials were to come up with plans that were economically viable, but that isn’t the same thing as defining health care as a profit-based system. By all indications it was designed as a forerunner of a national health care plan and aimed at controlling the cost of health care for individuals and families by focusing on preventative care rather than just curative care. It also seems to have been aimed at controlling costs through economies of scale (compared with independent practitioners). It provided for federal funding to help groups set up trial HMOs, with priority given to creating HMOs in parts of the country with insufficient access to medical care (and where subsidies would be available for the poor). There is some discussion on p. 12 of the Rand Corp report about the relative impact of efficieny (profit-maximizing) vs. quality-maximizing but the larger focus on price has to do with making sure the HMOs are affordable compared with employer insurance that it is designed to be an alternative to. Some discussion of high risk populations is included, but it does point out that HMOs would not be able to disenroll based on health status or because someone is in a high risk category. States with Medicare and Medicaid support seemed to provide the best options for affordable health care (as with the ACA). So I’m back to being baffled as to why this legislation could be read as being the start of for-profit health care. As Don Buska notes in another comment, Ted Kennedy was the leading sponsor of the bill and reading it, that makes perfectly good sense as it is clearly aimed to increasing access to affordable health care.

    • Considering Blue Cross was established in 1929, this article is patently false. However, the headline is click-baity and definitely served its purpose to attract traffic and ad revenue.

  6. The bill WAS signed by Nixon, he didn’t “pass” it.
    The passing was done by the 93rd Congress, under Senate Pres. pro tem
    James Eastland (D-ms) and House Speaker Carl Albert (D-OK) while Nixon
    was still fighting off Watergate allegations. (He resigned 5 months
    Both houses at the time of this bill were about 55% Democrat…

    • Why is every comment pointing fingers at Democrats rather than the system, and telling untruths, yours?

      • You’re worried about the wrong thing here. Your question should be “Is this article accurate?”
        The answer is “No.”
        Blue Cross was established in 1929, for starters.

  7. Then the Clintons took it even further when GATS was passed in 1995, which opened the floodgates to privatizing the rest of the public sector.
    “Negotiations of the GATS, the so-called General Agreement on Trade in Services, have also been kept secret since the late 1990s. The GATS stands for total corporate “privatization” and “commercialization” of life, and for the transformation of all of life’s dimensions into “trade-related”, meaning: “commercial”, services or commodities.
    In any case, consequences were, among others, the abolition of free university access, democratic student rights, and tenure jobs. Instead, university fees and authoritarian corporate structures were introduced – the latter demonstrating a well hidden neoliberal absolutism. Funding for the humanities was cut and an academic “evaluation” system modeled after private business criteria implemented.
    The re-organization and economization of academic research and teaching in the name of higher investment possibilities and the profitability of the transnational education industry are in full swing. The rationale that has entered our universities is that good research is research that brings money. This is truly a declaration of intellectual bankruptcy.”

  8. How about “spreading the truth” – and nothing but the truth? This bill was created and introduced into the Senate by Democrat Edward Kennedy on Jan. 4, 1973. It passed the Democrat controlled senate on May 15, 1973. It passed the Democrat controlled house on Sep. 12, 1973. Nixon signed a totally owned Democrat bill simply because if he didn’t, the Democrat controlled congress would have overrode his veto.
    AKA – Created and forced upon America, your money for your life legislation.

    • Rather than casting blame on either party (both deserve any blame equally), ask yourself if this article is even true in the first place.
      Considering Blue Cross was established in 1929, and accident insurance has been sold to American workers since the 1800s, it’s obvious this article is not very well researched, but is also patently false. However, it gets a lot of traffic due to the mention of Nixon and the comparisons people are making with him and Trump and it was designed to generate clicks, not to give you real information.

  9. There is probably more truth in the comments. Interesting none the less. Both parties are corrupt. It’s not about the health of the people, the costs to the sick or the cost to the healthy to pay for the sick. That is just the Two Minutes Hate used to keep the pendulum swinging.

  10. Bullshit..Ted Kennedy sponsored this bill…intro’d it in the Senate, Dems in ’73 controlled ALL of Congress…..
    The article is a false representation of the how the HMO option became law……not to mention Health insurance companies existed BEFORE this Bill passed.

    • Exactly. Blue Cross was established in 1929.
      Now let’s write an article about how Blue Cross caused the Great Depression and see how many believe that…

  11. I don’t understand. Kaiser Permanente is a non profit. KP has been around for 70 years. KP is the highest rated quality plan by the NCQA (just go to their website) – which means it offers the lowest rate and the highest quality care for the dollar. KP owns hospitals, medical centers, and has 18,500+ doctors.
    Kaiser has 11.5 million members
    Aetna has 18.5 million members
    Cigna has 15.7 million members
    Kaiser Net income for the first quarter of 2017 was $1.6 billion
    Aetna Net income for the first quarter of 2017 was $993 million
    Cigna Net income for the first quarter of 2017 was $598 million
    Kaiser is a non profit that also has 18,500 doctors and over 500 hospitals.
    Aetna nor Cigna own any hospitals or have any doctors as employees
    KP has the lowest rates on the exchanges
    Aetna is pulling out of the exchanges because it says it ‘can’t make money’
    Cigna is on the markets with high rates
    YET KP as a non profit, with fewer members than Aetna & Cigna and lower rates than Aetna & Cigna made MORE money than Aetna & Cigna.
    KP controls cost because it’s able to negotiate better rates with pharmacy companies (something the Federal gov has yet to do). It controls cost by sharing electronic medical records so your doctors provide coordinated care and don’t order tests you don’t need and don’t order multiples of the same test. KP controls cost because it coordinates its care, enabled by their electronic medical records.
    Guess you can be a non profit, service the patient (not shareholder) first.
    So, don’t get haranguing KP. (which, BTW, offers PPO and POS and self funding plans like the other guys do, in addition to their HMO).

    • It’s easy to understand.
      The article is false. There was for-profit insurance in the US before 1973.
      Blue Cross was established in 1929, and before that, many workers paid for accident insurance, especially if they were working in meat packing plants or building the railroads. Accident insurance was our nation’s answer to permanent injuries which prevented a return to the workforce.

      • BCBS is a non profit. Not sure about accident insurance. But we are talking about health insurance in this thread.

  12. Idiot article.
    Before the HMO Act you still had fee-for-service insurance plans. So this entire idea that all of the sudden in 1973 profit was allowed is foolish and a childish post.
    I was a stockbroker in my life and as for profits of insurance companies the average is 3%. Now I am sure someone will try to confuse the correct use of percentage and go to total amounts. Help ya here – when you look at the health of a company —- percentage weighs a lot more than totals.
    There are years health insurance companies lost millions, you want to take on that risk? You do the search and you’ll see more like this “Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on Friday reported a $50.6 million loss in 2014” or “Health insurer Highmark lost $318 million during the first half of 2015 on policies intended for the online marketplace that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.” The insurance companies have employees, who have families and how would you like to work for a company that just lost $50 million.
    I’ve never been a fan of managed care. Apparently John Ehrlichman wasn’t either because in a taped conversation between Ehrlichman and Nixon, Ehrlichman said about Kaiser, “All the incentives are toward less medical care, because the less care they give them, the more money they make.” Ehrlichman was talking about Kaiser before the Act so do you really think the Act was about allowing them to make greater profit? To begin with non-profit doesn’t mean there isn’t money coming in to pay the help, pay the CEO’s etc. If I remember Kaiser Health Plans are still non-profits and Kaiser Hospitals are still non-profit. The physician organizations that provide care for Kaiser are for profit.
    The tone and spirit of the Act was about the government helping (help funding) to promote the use of managed care or as they are known today as HMO’s. My wife always liked HMO’s but I didn’t. I didn’t like the need of referrals for care and having to only use services that were contracted with the HMO.
    Just a side bar here — have you ever wondered why Medicare has such high fraud? The government has never had a good fraud prevention program. If they did their touted low cost of running the plans wouldn’t be so low cost. Government be it Rep or Dem controlled always has a penchant to fool us.
    The Act —
    Transcript –
    The recording – I listened to the MP3 but it is not very clear

  13. Well, at a minimum the headline of this article is a lie; leads one to question the rest of the article and particularly any conclusions the author reaches. Pfizer was founded in 1849. Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886. Aetna first offered health insurance in 1899. HCA, the largest for-profit operator of hospitals in the U.S. was established in 1968. It’s never been illegal in the U.S. to “profit off of health care.”

  14. “in which medical insurance agencies, hospitals, clinics and even doctors, could begin functioning as for-profit business entities instead of the service organizations they were intended to be….
    service organizations they were intended to be.”
    sooooo a law was repealed that kept…”service organizations they were intended to be.”???
    what was that law? where was it enshrined?
    as … “it” is the entire premise for this screed….
    you want a doctor that cannot afford a Maserati?

  15. Don’t leave out that Congress played it’s part (Democrats in Control of both houses). Bill was Sponsored by Ted Kennedy, Democrat with 14 of the 16 Co-sponsors being also Democrats,– passed the House 369-40 and passed the Senate 69-25. Let’s not leave out important information while bashing Nixon. He had a little help here. Maybe more than a little.

  16. The next big thing for the US imbecile population who takes everything, especial likes the hate agenda from the Trump, will be the oxygen tax.


  18. I have had Kaiser health insurance for about 90% of the time since 1975. During that time, it has always been a non-profit. Its doctors are salaried, not paid by procedure or by number of patients. Thus, this article has some serious flaws in its arguments. From what I have previously read in a book by David Cay Johnson, it was Reagan who brought about for profit health insurance. Nixon proposed a national health care plan that was more leftist than Obamacare. Ted Kennedy opposed it because he wanted single payer. He later regretted this decision as a big mistake.

  19. Presidents don’t make laws they can only sign bills into law. The principal sponsor of the federal HMO Act was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy so that kills the Nixon doing a buddy a favor theory.

  20. Just keep in mind Nixon knew he was being impeached at this point so he tried to hurt the country anyway he could

  21. What drugs is the author referring to in his comment about restless legs?
    “Have you noticed recently that the words “prolonged coma” and DEATH have wormed their way into the fast-spoken side-effects list of just about every new drug you see on television or hear on the radio? Death! From the medicine that’s supposed to cure you! You know what? I’ll take restless legs over DEATH.”

  22. Dear Senator / Congressperson __________________________________,
    I am asking you to publicly
    post online your FIVE STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS for Obamacare, with explanations of exactly
    how each improvement makes our health insurance and care system LESS DAMAGING to the health and finances
    of ALL Americans.
    Some Suggestions:
    1. Merge America’s thousands of employer market health
    risk pools into a single NATIONAL individual market risk pool on the Obamacare
    Exchanges, while still requiring employers to continue paying employee health
    insurance subsidies. This helps to economically spread health risks
    across the widest number of healthy Americans under age 65.
    2. Move the health insurance income tax deduction out of employers’
    hands and place it as a line item on everyone’s IRS 1040 /A /EZ tax return so
    that EVERYONE can FULLY claim that deduction. This
    will help to merge the employed health risk pool into the individual market
    risk pool by allowing employees to RETAIN their pre-tax-dollar buying power
    when choosing high quality national health insurance coverage on the exchanges.
    This also eliminates for EVERYONE the “Cadillac/Income Tax” on health insurance
    premiums. (Donald Trump’s position in
    2016: “Allow individuals to fully deduct
    health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax
    system. Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t
    Congress allow individuals the same exemptions?” http://web.archive.org/web/20160316080118/https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/healthcare-reform ).
    3. Require all health insurers to sell on the Obamacare
    Exchanges a NATIONAL STANDARD health plan with SINGLE NATIONAL provider network
    to those under age 65 (preferably a Clone of Classic 80/20 Medicare). This helps employers migrate their employees into high
    quality NATIONAL coverage, with minimal disruption for when employees change
    jobs, all while greatly simplifying the complicated private health insurance
    bureaucracy imposed on medical providers.
    4. End Obamacare
    Expanded Medicaid Estate Recovery NATIONWIDE for those age 55 and
    up. Higher income earners age 55 and up do NOT
    have to pay back after death their totally free, federally funded Obamacare
    subsidies. Why should lower income
    earners be subject to Obamacare Expanded
    Medicaid Estate Recovery after
    death, and thus lose the value of what little property they own paying back
    possibly 10 YEARS WORTH of state purchased but federally funded Obamacare Expanded
    Medicaid insurance premiums?
    5. Force states to bulk purchase MEDICAID coverage for
    all their citizens willing to buy into large, state based, Medicaid risk
    pools. This offers a state based public
    option for those not wanting to buy the lower
    quality, narrower network, riskier risk pool, and more expensive individual
    health plans sold on the exchanges.
    Thank you. Your constituent: __________________________________

  23. You are all missing the point. Government has no right to be in the insurance business. That is not a function of government. The free market system had its flaws but again, most of the problem was when government interfered. When Ted Kennedy introduced HMOs. However righteous his intentions were, when government gets involved it is never good. It was government who said you could not purchase insurance across state lines thereby eliminating competition which would have lowered costs. It was government who said anyone could sue for any reason and creating a myriad of lawsuits which have made attorneys very wealthy. It was government who said you could not buy needed medicine outside of the US instead of allowing people to buy medicine in places like say Canada where it is a fraction of the cost here in the US. There were many different options other than allowing the government to get involved and all would have lowered premiums to affordable rates thereby allowing people to be able to afford to purchase their own insurance. No one purposely says “nah, I don’t want insurance” it’s more like “I can’t afford the premium or I can’t afford to pay $300 for a prescription I need” etc.

  24. Actually this was TEDDY “KILLER” KENNEDY’S HMO BILL the Article Did not Mention that I wonder why???? this was the Bill that got the “FEDERAL GOVERNMENT” the foothold in the Healthcare industry the “PROGRESSIVES” have dreamed about since WILSON….To Blame this on Tricky Dick is really a complete JOKE AND A LIE

  25. This Article is a COMPLETE LIE …How the Hell does this BS even get posted…..This is the “PROGRESSIVE” LIE that’s been around for decades to hide the Fact that it’s actually TEDDY “KILLER” KENNEDY’S HMO BILL…..I Challenge the BS Witter to do the right thing and POST the TRUTH you POS….The Fact is the demoCRAPS OWN THIS BILL and it was a favor to TEDDY “KILLER” KENNEDY for Tricky Dick to sign this to get “KILLER” to push through some of Dicks Bills…Not to say that TRICKY DICK wasn’t for this he was a “PROGRESSIVE” after all

  26. It’s Nixon’s fault for signing it, but NOT the fault of the Democratic House and the Democratic Senate for putting it on his desk to sign in the first place. When an article fudges the facts that badly, it’s impossible to believe anything it says.

  27. passed by Nixon changed everything.
    And passed by Nixon what he means is passed by congress which was controlled by the Democrats. This is civics 101 folks.
    Oh, by the way all this act did was authorize the setting up of HMOs. It says nothing about authorizing profits.
    If you rely on this website for good information you will be ill served.

  28. 1973 was a bad year for sure! About that time, mental institutions closed after abuses were found. Instead of fixing the system, thousands of newly Homeless and mentally ill appeared on the streets. Most were robbed of their weekly checks by a rising class of petty criminals. Drug use soared, with the Biker Gangs as enforcers noted for dropping those who opposed them down mine shafts of closed mines. Factories and mills closed as thousands of marching union workers demanded higher wages which Owners could not create due to mismanagement and profiteering for decades, delayed maintenance, and the Energy Crisis (which in many places was also a shortage).

  29. Pharmaceutical crap can’t cure anything! Why to continue to take it? Get only medical emergency insurance just in case and see naturopathic doctor or homeopath if you get unwell. Stop eating “food products” and junk s****. And last think you may want to do if you have investment into Big Pharma withdraw it. Kill them with their weapon of mass distraction. Starve the evil…

  30. If I had one dream it would be for all of Americans to realize we are in this together but as long as we are satisfied with blaming and bickering between ourselves the 1% will continue to wring the hope out of the middle class. The cost of health care in the US is out of control, period. Do we really care about the past more than the present? Just saying.

  31. They are true mother tuckers. And yes, I can say it. My son is rejected all the time 4 help with his 2 different insulin, diabetic strips, meter, bandages for his legs. ..fuck off goverment.. Charity begins at home before you help other country’s. Organized crime is what you mother fuckers are. You heard me….

  32. My Wife died of breast cancer, after having surgery and being declared “cancer free”. Her oncologist talked her into taking a “chem cocktail”, just to be on the “safe side”. A month later she died because the “Chemo cocktail” destroyed her immune system. This article is correct and I’ve said it since my wife died. “There is no money in a cure, the money is in the treatment”. Greedy bastards. A shame we can’t go back to the old ways, in some respects!

  33. Your research is flawed. This law is also known as HMO which was the first health insurance cost saving device ever implemented. Doctors and hospitals–and patients–were abusing the healthcare system long before the he Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973 was passed. Healthcare is expensive for many reasons: The population is fat, obese and unhealthy as diabetes is more common than not. We live in a food society. Another reason is RESEARCH–people living to their 80’s and 90’s is no longer unusual with a new arsenal of DRUGS–which are costly; TECHNOLOGY including electronic charting–is mandatory–but cost the healthcare system well over a trillion dollars to implement.

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