(Emergencies are the same, but the arm and the leg are different.)
While I'm digging up material on Medicare (back to 1964), I ran across this documentary from NBC Radio and their monthly Second Sunday series, outlining the state of Health Care in the U.S. from August 11, 1968.
Try not to scream too loudly when you hear the cost of the average doctor visit in 1951, or in 1968 for that matter.
But listening to this, I was made painfully aware of just how broken our system of health care is and just how much damage has been done and ultimately, how long it will take to fix it - even if the current pending Health Care reform makes it into law.
Consider the system was falling apart in 1968 by many accounts. It is unrecognizable today. The culprits are well entrenched and changing a system that worked perfectly fine for them then will take a miracle to undo now. In 1968 the system of Health Insurance as we know it today really took hold in the 1950's. Doctors still made house calls, the AMA was gaining more ground (and even then was viewed with a certain amount of suspicion).
It is almost shocking to see how a system the average American citizen depends on could become so corrupted over such a long period of time. Even more shocking to realize any kind of useful change is being met with such organized resistance so deeply entrenched and with such deep pockets.
Or maybe not.