The 15 U.S Presidents Who in One Way or the Other Advocated for Universal and Socialized Healthcare

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It is important to note that the concept of universal and socialized healthcare has evolved over time, and different U.S Presidents have supported different iterations of this idea. Here are 15 U.S Presidents who have either supported or made efforts toward achieving universal and socialized healthcare in America:

Theodore Roosevelt (1901 – 1909)

Pach Bros/Wikimedia Commons

During President Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, he advocated for a kind of universal health insurance as he believed that no nation could prosper if its population was in poverty and illness. Although the majority of reform measures were implemented outside of government, conservative leaders who succeeded him delayed such presidential leadership, which may have involved national power more heavily to manage social protection for about twenty years.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 -1945)

Leon A. Perskie/Wikimedia Commons

In 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act with provisions allowing states to grant medical assistance to people in need.

Harry Truman (1945 – 1953)

Portrait of President Harry S. Truman
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

After World War II, President Harry Truman declared that universal health care should be a critical aspect of his Fair Deal in 1949. Despite this effort, strong opposition nullified the plans for universal healthcare. Fortunately, though, National Mental Health Act and Hospital Survey and Construction Act (Hill-Burton act) were both passed in 1946 to provide some level of medical assistance to those who needed it most.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953 – 1961)

Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Dwight Eisenhower proposed a plan in 1954 to safeguard private insurance companies with health insurance re-insurance as part of an extensive well-being strategy. Unfortunately, the legislative branch ultimately voted against this proposal; however, President Eisenhower was still able to make great strides toward assistance for those living with disabilities during his tenure.

John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963)

Cecil Stoughton/Wikimedia Commons

In 1962, President Kennedy proposed an ambitious plan for providing universal healthcare to all citizens. Unfortunately, Congress failed to pass the measure despite its potential benefits.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963 – 1969)

Photo credit: Yoichi OkamotoWikimedia Commons

In 1965, President Johnson signed the Medicare and Medicaid programs into law to give millions of Americans access to reliable and quality healthcare.

Richard M. Nixon (1969 – 1974)

Richard Nixon's presidential portrait
Photo credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Under the historic presidency of Richard Nixon, a significant expansion of Medicare eligibility was put into law; those under 65 receiving Social Security disability insurance payments and people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) were granted access to Medicare for the first time. This development provided coverage to an estimated 2 million individuals in need.

Jimmy Carter (1977 – 1981)

Jimmy Carter's presidential portrait
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

In 1979, President Carter proposed a comprehensive national health insurance plan that would provide coverage for all Americans; however, Congress failed to pass the bill.

Ronald Reagan (1981 – 1989)

Photo credit: Michael Evans/Wikimedia Commons

President Reagan may not have been a proponent of universal healthcare; however, he did take decisive action in favor of providing access to emergency medical treatment by signing the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. This law ensures that those who are unable to pay still receive the required care they need without discrimination.

George H.W. Bush (1989 – 1993)

George H. W. Bush presidential portrait
Photo credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Although President Bush did not advocate for universal healthcare, he was an avid defender of patient rights and enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act which provided wider access to medical services for individuals living with a disability.

President Bill Clinton (1993 – 2001)

Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States
Photo credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

In 1993, President Clinton once again brought up the idea of introducing a ‘Health Security Act’, that would have offered full health care coverage for all Americans. Despite being met with much opposition and debate from Congress members, both Republican and Democrat alike, the proposal was eventually shot down as it failed to gain enough support in order to be put into effect.

 George W. Bush (2001 – 2009)

Official photograph portrait of U.S. President George W. Bush
Eric Draper/Wikimedia Commons

By offering States more autonomy to control their Medicaid initiatives, President George W. Bush’s Health Insurance Flexibility and Accountability waivers provide a pathway for low-income individuals to access health insurance coverage.

Barack Obama (2009 – 2017)

Barack Obama

In 2010, President Obama enacted the Affordable Care Act, which provided access to healthcare for millions of Americans via insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion. This landmark law has enabled those who previously were unable to afford medical care with newfound opportunities for coverage.

Donald Trump (2017 – 2021)

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

President Trump refused to back universal healthcare, yet he still chose to endorse the Right to Try Act. This specific law offers terminally ill patients the chance to access treatments that have not been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Joe Biden (2021)

Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Throughout his political career, President Biden has advocated for universal healthcare. Currently, he is championing the expansion of the Affordable Care Act and introducing a public option to ensure that all Americans have access to quality health insurance coverage.


  • Olu

    My name is Olu. I am a passionate entrepreneur who loves to write about Pets, Home Improvement Hacks & Products, Fitness, and Travel Lifestyle. I have two bachelor's degrees in Veterinary Medicine and Applied Accounting with a CPA designation. I currently shuffle time between completing a Master of Business Administration Degree Education, Professional Practice, and Content writing. I have freelanced lifestyle content and posts for many top authority websites like MSN, and Wealth of Geeks.

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