The federal government shutdown forced by House Republicans in an effort to destroy Obamacare has entered its second week. But Obama is right to resist the attempt to obliterate his singular achievement and the one that is liable to most define his Presidency in the eyes of future historians. This excellently researched and sourced article from politifact.com tells of seven presidents that took positions on expanding health care for Americans, three or four with proposals that may have expanded health care coverage to all. Obamacare comes close to achieving that goal.
Harry Truman was the President with the most clear cut proposal that called for a national health insurance plan open to all Americans. It was attacked as “socialized medicine" by the American Medical Association.
Richard Nixon had a proposal to expand health insurance to all Americans, mostly through employer mandates to provide insurance, and subsidies for low income Americans. Watergate derailed that effort.
Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton lost on their effort for universal health care coverage.
John Kennedy supported expansion of Medicare, but it was Lyndon Johnson that got it passed. Truman was at the signing ceremony for the Medicare bill.
George W. Bush added Medicare Part D that now covers prescription drug coverage for seniors.
The beloved Dwight Eisenhower had his proposal. Even Ronald Reagan, revered by most Republicans and conservatives, signed COBRA into law, which allows individuals to keep paying for coverage if they lose their insurance that had been provided by an employer. In addition, with almost no support from his own cabinet, Reagan added catastrophic care to Medicare toward the end of his presidency, though the provision was later repealed (see article).
Here are five reasons why Obama is right not to cave to pressure and threats from a minority of House Republicans.