Published on February 17, 2014
Presidents of the United States The Entrepreneurs and Pioneers of the Modern Day Healthcare System
This President’s Day, Healthbox would like to recognize how our nation’s leaders demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit or used their platform to pave the way for a better national healthcare system and our culture of innovation. 2
1 George Washington In addition to being our nation’s first president, George Washington (17891797) wore many entrepreneurial hats. 5 He is credited with running a successful fishing operation, whiskey distillery and flour mill, as well as transforming Mount Vernon into a prosperous industrial village. He exported goods throughout the 13 colonies, the West Indies and Europe. Source: Reason 3
2 John Adams 5 John Adams (1797-1801) signed An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen in July of 1798. The law authorized the creation of a government-operated, marine hospital service and mandated privately employed sailors to purchase healthcare insurance. Source: The Washington Post 4
3 Thomas Jefferson 5 While Thomas Jefferson (18011809) will be remembered for authoring the Declaration of Independence, he also introduced us to several other well-known innovations including the swivel chair, macaroni and cheese and the pedometer. Jefferson never applied for one patent, believing the inventions should benefit all of society and not just the creator. Sources: MIT, Yahoo 5
9 William Henry Harrison William Henry Harrison (1841) creatively approached his campaign strategy, being the first candidate to vigorously emphasize his public image. 5 Harrison and his advisers flooded the electorate with posters and badges extolling the virtues of a down-toearth, cider-drinking war hero. This depiction fit just what the public wanted and contributed to Harrison’s eventual victory. Source: The Miller Center 6
11 James Polk James Polk (1845-1849) was the first president to make use of the telegraph for his inauguration. 5 Polk’s decision to use the telegraph was a bold move for the time. The device was a precursor to the technologies we use today to disseminate information to the masses, such as the telephone, radio, television and the internet. Source: Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies 7
16 Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) is the only president to ever hold a patent, for a device to lift riverboats over shallow waters. 5 Lincoln believed patent law “added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius in the discovery and production of new and useful things.” Source: US News 8
20 James Garfield 5 James Garfield (1881) was a pioneering mathematician before becoming president. In 1876, the Journal of Education published Garfield’s proof to the Pythagorean theorem, one of the most well known and important theorems in mathematics. Source: PBS 9
26 Theodore Roosevelt 5 In his third bid for president in 1912 (following a four-year break), Theodore Roosevelt (19011909) and the Progressive Party were the first to advocate for national health insurance in their platform. Although the proposal was vague and Roosevelt lost the election to Woodrow Wilson in 1913, this marked an important shift in our nation’s thinking about healthcare. Source: The Slate 10
29 Warren G. Harding 5 In 1921, Warren G. Harding (19211923) signed the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act, which contributed matching federal funds to states to establish and run prenatal and child healthcare centers. Source: The Miller Center 11
31 Herbert Hoover 5 At a time when there was little conformity, Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) brought together more than one hundred different industries and convinced them to adopt standardized tools, hardware, building materials and automobile parts for improved efficiency. Hoover also founded the American Child Health Association, an organization dedicated to raising public awareness of child health problems in the US. Sources: New Republic, The Hoover Association 12
32 Franklin D. Roosevelt 5 In Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (1933-1945) 1944 State of the Union address, he declared that all Americans had “the right to adequate medical care.” Public health had been a major government effort since Theodore Roosevelt’s administration, but FDR was the first president to explicitly suggest that medical care itself was a right for Americans and should be addressed at the federal level. Source: Medscape 13
34 Dwight Eisenhower Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961) proposed the creation of the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 1953, which is still prominent today. 5 The SBA’s function is to "aid, counsel, assist and protect, insofar as is possible, the interests of small business concerns.” Source: Small Business Administration 14
35 John F. Kennedy John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) advocated for the healthcare of the elderly, foreshadowing the introduction of Medicare in 1965. 5 In his 1961 State of the Union address, Kennedy stated, “Our working men and women, instead of being forced to beg for help from public charity once they are old and ill, should start contributing now to their own retirement health program through the Social Security System.” Source: Medscape 15
36 Lyndon B. Johnson 5 Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969) passed the Social Security Act of 1965, important legislation that funded the US Medicare and Medicaid programs. The amendments provided federal health insurance for the elderly over the age of 65 and for poor families. Source: The Miller Center 16
37 Richard Nixon 5 In 1972, Richard Nixon (19691974) signed into law the first major change to Medicare. The legislation expanded coverage to include individuals under the age of 65 with long-term disabilities and individuals with end-stage renal disease. Source: Medscape 17
40 Ronald Reagan 5 Ronald Regan (1981-1989) was a strong supporter of American innovation. For example, in May of 1983, Reagan dedicated a radio address from Camp David to the importance of entrepreneurs. He declared that it was our responsibility to “encourage risk-taking by thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs,” and “that any country which fails to encourage risktaking…will never prosper.” Source: Frontiers of Freedom 18
42 Bill Clinton 5 Bill Clinton (1993-2001) and his administration advocated for and signed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). At its creation in 1997, SCHIP was the largest expansion of taxpayerfunded health insurance coverage for children in the US since Johnson established Medicaid in 1965. Source: State Children’s Health Insurance Program 19
43 George W. Bush 5 George W. Bush (2001-2009) and Congress passed the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) in 2003, establishing a voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit for people on Medicare known as Part D. Once in effect in 2006, all 52 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries had access to the Medicare drug benefit through private plans approved by the federal government. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation 20
44 Barack Obama 5 President Barack Obama (2009-current) passed the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2009, demanding most companies cover their workers, requiring everyone have health coverage and mandating insurance companies to accept all patients despite previous health conditions or financial status. Obama also continues to support entrepreneurs, primarily through his 2011 Startup America initiative that accelerates high-growth startups in the US. Source: The White House 21
WISHES YOU A HAPPY PRESIDENT’S DAY www.healthbox.com @health_box, facebook.com/healthbox
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