No one thought that President Nixon was a liberal in fact I spent much of my youthful years demonizing him and remember exactly where I was the day he resigned. I was cheering.
However, like most of us humans, Nixon was a mixed bag. A crook perhaps but a brilliant one who had some very good legislation and visions for America.
One of these visions was his health care plan and if he were alive today he would be run out of the Republican party for being too liberal. Spoken like a liberal, President Richard Nixon said in February 1974, "Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job."
His Comprehensive Health Insurance plan was designed around several basic tenants:
1. Balanced, comprehensive range of health insurance benefits for every American.
2. The cost would be no more than an American could afford to pay.
3. Catastrophic Illness Would Be Addressed. He proposed a card with information available at the time such as blood type.
Even Ronald Reagan -- not a fan of social programs -- suggested in February 1987 that Medicare be expanded to offer catastrophic health insurance to people over 65 in hospitals. His administration also looked into requiring employers to offer catastrophic insurance with health insurance policies. He was roundly criticized by Congressman Claude Pepper for not offering catastrophic coverage more broadly and to cover those in nursing homes.
The numbers do not lie and anyone occupying the Oval Office understands that tackling health care is important to the well being of citizens and the overall health of the economy. It is amazing that the Republicans are fighting President Obama's plan tooth and nail when so many of their party's icons tried to get health coverage on the national agenda.
Given this history of Republicans wanting true reform of health care, this week when the heath care vote comes up in the House, I would recommend that the GOP, the party of NO, take a look at some of their previous Yes men -- Nixon, and even Reagan, and vote YES.
Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a Fox News contributor.
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