Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
Jonathan Oberlander has undertaken the formidable task of analyzing
the political history of Medicare. With careful documentation, Oberlander
makes a lively case for his view that Medicare, once adopted, was largely
modified on a bipartisan basis between 1966 and 1994, after which a major
breakdown in that consensus occurred.
In 1995, with the takeover of both houses of Congress by a conservative
Republican majority, a major confrontation on Medicare's future took place.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich took on the task of seeking major changes in Medicare
to shift it toward reliance on private insurance while cutting program spending
by about 30%. President Clinton vetoed this particular effort, but the politics
of Medicare had changed. Oberlander then traces the 1997 legislation and the
subsequent stalemate on adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare during
the years 2000 to 2002, the point at which his book ends.
Moon M. Medicare. JAMA. 2004;291(16):2023–2024. doi:10.1001/jama.291.16.2023