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The history of medicine and organized healthcare in America

American health care history was quite different from that of many first world countries. While the war of 1812 helped propel the development of medicine faster than the one likely would happen without the war, our strong faith in capitalism hampered our efforts to create national healthcare that the US, Germany, France, and Canada used for decades. Our unique system has thus developed dramatically in the last hundred years into something that is both beloved and disliked.

The early 2000's: Extending Coverage to Millions of Americans

By the year 2000, NHE contributed 13.4 % of GDP, which was only 11% more growth than in the first quarter. The 63rd president of the United States from 2001-2009 had a desire for a reform on the federal government that would provide more drug insurance coverage. This plan became a Medicare prescription medicine reform act, sometimes known as a Medicare Part D Act. Enrolment is voluntary and is a popular option amongst millions of Americans. The American healthcare system was slowing down when national medical policy debates were brought while Americans shifted attention to the threat to the US economy and terrorism.

President John Adams signed into law a bill providing for the care and relief of sick and injured merchant sailors

Specifically, the law provided medical care to merchant seamen in the United States ports, marked the government's entrance into the area. In the initial stages, the government contracted hospitals with existing hospitals that were providing medical treatment for seafarers. Later hospitals built along coasts and sea routes funded by deduction of wages of seamen were able to accommodate sick merchant workers. The marine hospital is now renamed as Marine Hospital Services. The marine hospitals services expanded as the department became a medical inspector for immigrant workers.

The 1960s: Social Security Expansion

By 1960, governments began evaluating health costs and calculating their proportions of gross domestic product (GDP) as percentages. NHE represented 5 percent of total GDP in the first decade. Whenever John F. Kennedy was appointed 35th President, the president rushed to develop an Affordable Care Act to help the elderly. He urged Americans to take part in legislation and backed Congress to adopt his bill. However, the organization ultimately failed miserably with the harsh opposition from the AMA and again with fears about socialized medical practice.

Dorothea Lynde Dix appointed to supervise female nurses for the Union army during the Civil War

Throughout the Civil War nearly 20,000 women worked in humanitarian work. Almost all of it involved nursing care. The nursing activities of many women were recognised during the war. 617 sisters of Catholic faith spanning 21 different faith groups served in hospitals as well as in hospitals as a civilian and military soldier.

Medical Profession

Even the most forward-looking physician in America, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (the father of the future Supreme Court justice), a proponent of clean hands, ridiculed the idea that science could have any practical value for the medical profession. In the absence of verifiable cures doctors who wanted to follow the European trends to let nature heal were accused of “therapeutic nihilism” that could destroy them as a profession.

American Medical Association

John Shaw Billings, who served as a senior surgeon during the war, built the Library of the Surgeon General's Office, which became the hub of our modern medical information systems. Though founded in 1849, the American Medical Association (AMA) started to gain momentum towards the end of the century, and by 1899 it grew its membership to capture nearly half the physicians in the country.

National Health Insurance

Those who could afford it began purchasing health insurance plans privately, and labor unions used employer-sponsored benefits as a bargaining chip during negotiations. The 1950's : Medical Advancements & Costs As the government became primarily concerned with the Korean War, the national health insurance debate was tabled once again. While the country tried to recover from its third war in 40 years, medicine was moving forward.

Medical Services

The nurses' humanitarian actions advanced a powerful argument for African American civil equality and citizenship. 1798 President John Adams signs into law a bill providing for the care and relief of sick and injured merchant seaman This law, providing for medical services for merchant seamen in American ports, marked the entry of the federal government into matters of health and the delivery of health services.

Medical Profession

Even the most forward-looking physician in America, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (the father of the future Supreme Court justice), a proponent of clean hands, ridiculed the idea that science could have any practical value for the medical profession. In the absence of verifiable cures doctors who wanted to follow the European trends to let nature heal were accused of “therapeutic nihilism” that could destroy them as a profession.

Medical Societies

Under their proposed bill, qualified recipients would receive sick pay, maternity benefits, and a death benefit of $50.00 to cover funeral expenses. The cost of these benefits would be split between states, employers, and employees. The AMA initially supported the bill, but some medical societies expressed objections, citing concerns over how doctors would be compensated.

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Medical Department

The war did usher in a wave of progress in the form of surgical techniques, research, nursing methods, and care facilities.  The Union built army hospitals in every state, and proactive medical organizers achieved considerable progress thanks to a well-funded United States Army Medical Department and the United States Sanitary Commission. Numerous other new health-related agencies were also formed during this time, raising public consciousness about healthcare.

Medical and Surgical History

e reorganized his staff and established the new Army Medical Museum, which would house medical and surgical specimens collected and submitted from the field and hospitals. He promised the contributions would be acknowledged in the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. Yet many practitioners had no dissection experience and or limited practical anatomical training.

How did they treat illness in the 1800s?

Traditional medicinal practice in most parts of the 19th century used symptomatic treatment mainly involving bloodletting, blistering or high dosage minerals poison. These medications caused high rates of deaths in people who had not had treatment.

What was the basis of medical care before the 1800s?

Before modern medicine understood disease in an early form as an art that was built on an idea that had no scientific basis. Many Westerners believed that the disease was the result of an imbalance within the body.

Were there hospitals in the 1800s?

Europe's discoveries have facilitated the construction of hospitals throughout North America and Africa. A Chinese hospital was established by Western missionaries in the 1890s. In early modern times, medical care and healing became secular in many hospitals.

Medical Education

Alexander Monro studied at Leiden under Hermann Boerhaave, the central figure of European medicine and the greatest clinical teacher of his time. Subsequently, three generations of the Monro family taught anatomy at Edinburgh over a continuous period of 126 years. Medical education was increasingly incorporated into the universities of Europe, and Edinburgh became the leading academic centre for medicine in Britain. William Hunter In 18th-century London, Scottish doctors were the leaders in surgery and obstetrics.

Medical Schools

Financial instability finally toppled the institution. But setting up hospitals and training doctors at prestigious medical schools in the East and locally were only part of the health care scene. Utahns, no longer culturally isolated, also responded to national fads and seemed to be particularly attracted to certain health crazes.

Medical Personnel

Before modern medicine, the understanding of disease and other bodily afflictions was based on ideas that were at least 2,000 years old but lacked any scientific basis. All people in the Western world, and not just medical personnel, assumed that disease was caused by an imbalance or disturbance within the body. A miasma (a foul odor in the air), or an evil spirit, or a contagious disease, or any number of outside influences could bring on that imbalance.

Public Health

major breakthrough came during the 1854 cholera outbreak, when Dr John Snow demonstrated that infection was spread not by miasmas but by contaminated water from a public pump in crowded Soho. When the pump handle was removed, cholera subsided. It was then possible for public health officials such as Sir John Simon to push forward projects to provide clean water, separate sewage systems and rubbish removal in urban areas, as well as to legislate for improved housing - one goal being to reduce overcrowding.

Health Care Services

Private donations as well as an allocation from the Pennsylvania Assembly provided the funding for the Pennsylvania Hospital, reinforcing the idea that the public had a stake in providing health care services.

The 1900's: The Industrial Revolution, Unions & Organized Healthcare

Theodore Roosevelt believed at this point that health insurance is critical because there are no countries with people that have poor health or disease. Nonetheless his efforts have led the push for a healthier American health system. Generally, in the early 1900s, many of these projects have been led by organizations outside government. As the industrial revolution progressed, the dangerous nature of the job triggered fewer injury cases. As manufacturing jobs increased in popularity, unions remained strong.

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The mid 1800's: The Civil War

Compared to those who died during civil wars, more soldiers were sick and dying of diseases. The Confederacy's conditions were particularly harsh due to shortages in medicine. Lack of cleanliness led to the epidemic of children’s illnesses such as measles, mumps, chickenpox, and whoopie cough in the United States. Dysentery and typhoides plagued the South especially. Throughout the war, surgical and nursing technologies were introduced and the hospitals were equipped to cope.

The 1950's: Medical Advancements & Costs

In the aftermath of the Korea war government pushed a national policy debate to re-invigorate health plans. While it was battling its third major war in 40 years, medical care continued to improve. Penicillin's effect on the human body during the 1940s was a major source of information on advances in the medical field. In 1955 Jonathan Salk and his colleagues at UP Pittsburgh created an effective Polio vaccination that they subsequently tested across the country and was approved in 1955.

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