This, we were told, was the culmination of a decades-long battle over universal health care between Left and Right. Making a government-backed health care program available to all Americans has long been a wet-dream of the Democratic party going back to President Johnson, who signed Medicare into law in 1965. Republicans, meanwhile, have kicked and screamed the entire way, insisting that a "socialized" health care system would transform us into a nation of commies -- or worse, Canadians.
It's true that the Affordable Care Act will undoubtedly go down as the biggest part of President Obama's legacy (especially since we call it "Obamacare"), barring a spontaneous war against China in the next year. But he can't exactly be credited with coming up with all that original of an idea. Especially when it's a much more watered down version of the plan floated by the very Republican Richard Freaking Nixon.
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Ah, yes. Ol' "Tricky Doc" Nixon.
That's right, Nixon proposed a universal health care plan to Congress way back when the American Dream was to recover from the decade-long acid trip that had been the 1960s. And he did it not once, but twice: in 1971 and again in 1974. Like the Affordable Care Act, Nixon's Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (or CHIP) was intended to extend affordable health insurance coverage to every last American via a harmonious combination of employee-based coverage, assisted coverage, and expanded Medicare.