(2003-08-11) Drucker Universal Healthcare

Old Red Herring interview with Peter Drucker. Once, after he told us something remarkable, we asked whether some historian we might read could tell us more. "No," he responded in his measured, gravelly, Viennese-accented tones, "I am the single survivor of that commission of Mr. Eisenhower's." What he had told us was that a project to establish universal HealthCare had been suggested in the '50s, but the UnitedAutoWorkers Labor Union had blocked it. When contacted, UAW officials groused that Mr. Drucker was an "exalted curmudgeon," yet didn't deny his claim outright... Medical advances since antibiotics have had no impact on Life Expectancy. They are wonderful for tiny groups, but statistically insignificant. The great changes have been in the work force. When I was born, 95 percent of all people worked in manual jobs - most of them dangerous, debilitating jobs... The Canadian system is not Managed Care, it's managed costs... If we had listened to Mr. Eisenhower, who wanted Catastrophic health care for everybody, we would have no health care problems. What shut him down, as you may not have heard, was the UAW. In the 1950s, the only benefit the unions could still promise was company-paid health care. Under the Eisenhower principle, where for everybody who spent more than 10 percent of their taxable income for health expenditures, government would pay, this would have been eliminated. So the UAW killed it with help from the American Medical Association. Still, the AMA wasn't that powerful. The UAW was.

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