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.
In fact, Nixon's second proposal was met with enthusiasm in the Senate ... until a little thing known as Watergate obliterated any chance of "Nixoncare" entering the national lexicon.
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Plus, everyone forgets Nixon's plan to turn Watergate into affordable housing.
Not that the Republicans owned the idea. Even before Nixon came along, Democrat Harry Truman tried and failed to get universal healthcare passed. Republican Dwight Eisenhower then pushed for tax breaks to get insurance companies to cover poor people, and for employers to cover their workers.
Thirty years after Nixon's failed proposals, Republican and future presidential candidate Mitt Romney enacted what amounted to Nixon's plan in his home state of Massachusetts. Romney believed his ... wait for it ... Romneycare program was "essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need."
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"Even if 47 percent of them can kiss my ass."
Again, the point here isn't to argue that government-funded healthcare is good or bad -- feel free to debate that among yourselves -- only that it's not some socialist pipe dream that represents the end of a long battle with Republicans. Presidents from both parties have been trying to get something like Obamacare done for seven decades.