My Dad Predicted Obamacare in 1972

My father, David DeBacker, was a hospital administrator and both he and his father, a doctor, were proponents of what some folks would call “socialized medicine.” In the 1972, he gave a speech at a conference in San Antonio Texas in which he essentially predicted that we would have something like Obamacare by the year 1980.

I found the following article, dated February 4, 1972, in the newspaper archives for the San Antonio Light (now the San Antonio Express-News).

As the article states, my father made some predictions about the future of health care in the United States while giving a speech to the Texas Society of Hospital Public Relations Directors in San Antonio. In his speech he predicted that towards the end of the decade, “great corporations will sell complete packages of medical and dental care which will cost workers and their employers about as much as they are now spending for Social Security.”

He predicted that as a result of these changes “tax supported hospital districts will become obsolete and that it will be ‘very difficult’ for the solo practitioner to survive economics of the new situation.” He predicted that state run Medicaid would be nationalized.

He presented an overview of health care proposals before Congress and the article mentions five plans which included a modest plan from AMA for something called Medicredit and the expansive proposal from Sen. Ted Kennedy for a national health security plan. It is a watered-down version of Sen. Kennedy’s plan that later became what today is known as Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In his speech, my Dad predicted that all of the proposals of the day “will gradually be worked into national healthcare legislation by 1980 or 1982.”

It looks like he was off by about thirty years and even then, some.

In his speech he made reference to the American Medical Association’s “violent” reaction against a national healthcare program saying that the “AMA has discovered something they didn’t know existed… that there their public image is not very good.”

Oh, Snap!

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