Introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy to the 91st Congress (1969-1970) as S. 4297 and the 92nd-95th Congresses (1971-1978) as S. 3. Companion legislation was filed by Representatives Martha Griffiths and James Corman in the House to the 92nd-95th Congresses (1971-1978) as H.R. 22.
Index of Information on the Health Security Act
- Details of the Health Security Act
- Link to Public Hearings on the Health Security Act
- Contemporary Summaries and Analysis of the Health Security Act
- Information on the Senate Bill, S.3
- Information on the House Bill, H.R. 22
- Bibliography of Historical Writings on the Health Security Act
Details of the Health Security Act
The Health Security Act would cover all U.S. citizens and documented permanent residents, covering all benefits including vision, with a few exceptions: 1) dental would initially be covered only for those age 15 or younger, and would gradually be expanded to all residents; 2) the drug benefit would be limited to inpatient and group practice facilities, as well as drugs needed for maintenance of certain chronic conditions; and 3) a limit of 120 covered days of nursing home care, and 45 days for mental hospital care. Benefits would be provided without any cost-sharing.
The Health Security Act would be administered by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare [subsequently split into the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services], and would pay hospitals and other institutions through negotiated budgets, while physicians would be paid on a fee-for-service or capitation basis.
The plan would be financed through a 3.5% payroll tax on employers (36% of total costs), a 1% payroll tax on the first $15,000 wages of employees (12% of costs); a 2.5% payroll tax on the self-employed (2% of costs); and the balance (50%) from general tax revenues. Certain unearned income would also be subject to a 2.5% tax.
Public Hearings on the Health Security Act and other National Health Reform
In 1971 prominent public hearings were hosted by the Senate's Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, which was chaired by Senator Kennedy, on the "Health Care Crisis in America" - the hearings were held over 23 days at locations across the country. Extensive hearings were also held by the House Committee on Ways and Means on "National Health Insurance Proposals" in October and November, and by the Senate Committee on Finance on "National Health Insurance" in April 1971.
Contemporary Summaries and Analysis of the Health Security Act
Report by Committee on Finance staff, titled "National Health Insurance: Brief Outline of Pending Bills," with summaries of S. 3, S. 836, and six other bills (published April 26, 1971):
Information on the Senate Bill, S.3
Information on the House Bill, H.R. 22
Bibliography of Historical Writings on the Health Security Act
- Falk, I. S. "Medical Care in the USA: 1932-1972. Problems, Proposals and Programs from the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care to the Committee for National Health Insurance." The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly. Health and Society 51, no. 1 (Winter, 1973): 1-32
- Hoffman, Beatrix. “Health Care Reform and Social Movements in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 93.1 (2003): 75–85.
- Starr, Paul. “Stumbling toward Comprehensive Reform,” in Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform, Revised Edition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013.
- Starr, Paul. “Transformation of defeat: the changing objectives of national health insurance, 1915-1980,” American Journal of Public Health 72, no. 1 (January 1, 1982): 78-88.