Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Health care history through humor

Date:
October 22, 2012
Source:
University of Rochester
Summary:
Featuring more than 200 examples of the century's best political art, a new history of health care reform provides an entertaining review of 100 years of partisan wrangling over medical insurance.

Featuring more than 200 examples of the century's best political art, a new history of health care reform provides an entertaining review of 100 years of partisan wrangling over medical insurance -- from Theodore Roosevelt's support for protection from the "hazards of sickness" in 1912 to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act in 2012.

"Political cartoons cut to the essence of our battle over who should foot the bill for medical coverage and how that care should be structured," explains Theodore Brown, one the four authors of The Quest for Health Care Reform: A Satirical History due out in October 2012. "But unlike the pain involved in our political struggle, cartoons deliver their uncomfortable truths with such irreverent wit and visual imagination that you can't help but chuckle."

Brown, a historian of medicine, public health, and health policy at the University of Rochester, provides the historical context for each cartoon and authored introductory chapters on early health care reform efforts. He says the book's broad sweep helps to bring into focus many of the themes and political patterns that surface over and over throughout the decades. The "political use of fear, hope, selective memory, and outright distortion will be seen as running threads in our health reform history," he writes in the book's preface.

From the first decades of the 20th century, critics sought to brand universal medical coverage as "un-American" and "socialistic." Government health care was derided as "Germanic" after World War I, as revolutionary following the Russian Revolution (1917), and as a subversive plot engineered by the Kremlin during the McCarthy era. Long before accusations about "death panels" surfaced during the 2009 debate, opponents decried federal financed medical insurance as "state medicine" and as early as the 1920s the American Medical Association characterized any government plan as "robotic."

While many of the overarching themes have remained the same, the complexity of the nation's health delivery system and the number and financial power of special interests has mushroomed in recent decades, says Brown. From pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies to hospitals, physicians, and patient rights groups, the debate has grown more complex and confusing for the public.

It is precisely in this cacophony of competing perspectives that political cartoonists have offered some of our most brilliant social commentary, says coauthor Susan Ladwig, a public health professional at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Ladwig selected many of the cartoons for the history and has collaborated with Brown for years on presentations about the history of health care. Using visual metaphors, like depicting the public as a sick patient or the health care system as an overly complicated machine, these artist are able to home in on the underlying truths and self-interests that can otherwise be lost in daily news coverage, she explains.

"The book makes the whole complex topic of health care more accessible, even fun," says Ladwig. "Hopefully people are going to want to read this history. I hope they don't just skip over the narrative, but even if they just view the cartoons, they will come away with a better understanding of heath care reform. It may even change a few people's minds when they know the whole story."

The book brings together the work of more than 27 cartoonists, including 10 winners of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. Almost a fifth of the selections are the creation of Matt Wuerker, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and a finalist for the award in 2010 and 2009. A founding staffer at Politico, Wuerker is known for lampooning partisan conflict in Washington. Other Pulitzer winners represented in the book include Mike Luckovich (2006, 1995), Nick Anderson (2005), Clay Bennett (2002), and Joel Pett (2000).

The Political Cartoon History of Health Care Reform is the brainchild of Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, whose collection of close to 1,000 cartoons on health care laid the basis for the project. Coauthor Elyse Berkman, a graduate student in health policy at City University of New York, assisted with research.

View a video and slideshow from the book at http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=4732.

Published by the American Public Health Association, the 212-page paperback can be ordered online at http://www.aphabookstore.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Rochester. "Health care history through humor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022192243.htm>.
University of Rochester. (2012, October 22). Health care history through humor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022192243.htm
University of Rochester. "Health care history through humor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022192243.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins