Richard Nixon: That First "Liberal" President Who Dared to Overhaul Health Care

Tonight President Barack Obama will speak before a joint session of Congress in an attempt to salvage his healthcare reform initiative that -- if it were a patient -- appears close to flatlining.

But if you think Obama is the first president who tried to reform this country's medical system only to be stymied by a morass of political bickering, think again. Bill Clinton failed to overhaul healthcare in the early 1990s. And so, too, did Richard Nixon in the 1970s.

Nixon's proposal called for a comprehensive health insurance plan that "would offer to every American the same broad and balanced health protection."

Said Nixon before Congress in 1974:
"Comprehensive health insurance is an idea whose time has come in America. There has long been a need to assure every American financial access to high quality healthcare... Surely if we have the will, 1974 should also be the year that we find the way." 
Umm, yeah. That didn't happen.

Continue on to see a couple of great news clips from the era explaining Nixon's plan and a competing healthcare proposal from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Then tell me if the 1974 debate doesn't sound a lot like the same shit, different decade.

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