Fifty years ago, on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law Medicare and Medicaid, marking America’s first major steps towards the socialization of medicine. Medicare and Medicaid, which today pay the medical bills of one in three Americans, were passed on the premise that medical care is a right which individuals are entitled to regardless of whether they can pay for it; if an individual can’t afford the medical care he needs, it’s considered the responsibility of others to shoulder the costs.

On that unchallenged premise, the government has continued to expand medical care as an entitlement. Medicare and Medicaid now cover more medical services and more segments of the population, and new entitlement programs have been passed. Government controls in health care have burgeoned, dictating, for example, how much hospitals and medical professionals can charge for their efforts. Continuing that destructive pattern, President Obama's Affordable Care Act greatly multiplies the control over health care.

50 Years Down the Road of Socialized Medicine

Image: ittipon via Shutterstock.com

At ARI, we recognize the immense value of medicine to human life and advocate for liberating the field from government intervention. Life-saving vaccines, drugs, MRIs, ICUs and the myriad advances in medicine don’t grow on trees. They are discovered, invented, perfected, manufactured. Conspicuously downplayed in discussions of health care policy are the doctors, nurses, scientists, and other professionals whose thought, dedication, and work we rely on. The entrenched premise of Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare is that someone's need for medical care entitles him to the unearned: the effort and wealth of others — not only taxpayers, but notably the medical professionals who make health care possible.

We reject that premise as immoral. We view that premise as enabling the continual expansion of government's role in medicine — and as disarming advocates of freedom who concede it. To reverse course, what's needed is a willingness to challenge that premise and advocate for freedom on the moral principle of individual rights.

The following articles, blog posts and videos spell out ARI’s position.