Book ID: CBB539911199

The Power to Heal: Civil Rights, Medicare, and the Struggle to Transform America's Health Care System (2016)


Smith, David Barton (Author)

Vanderbilt University Press

Publication Date: 2016
Physical Details: 257 pages
Language: English

In less than four months, beginning with a staff of five, an obscure office buried deep within the federal bureaucracy transformed the nation's hospitals from our most racially and economically segregated institutions into our most integrated. These powerful private institutions, which had for a half century selectively served people on the basis of race and wealth, began equally caring for all on the basis of need.The book draws the reader into the struggles of the unsung heroes of the transformation, black medical leaders whose stubborn courage helped shape the larger civil rights movement. They demanded an end to federal subsidization of discrimination in the form of Medicare payments to hospitals that embraced the "separate but equal" creed that shaped American life during the Jim Crow era. Faced with this pressure, the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations tried to play a cautious chess game, but that game led to perhaps the biggest gamble in the history of domestic policy. Leaders secretly recruited volunteer federal employees to serve as inspectors, and an invisible army of hospital workers and civil rights activists to work as agents, making it impossible for hospitals to get Medicare dollars with mere paper compliance. These triumphs did not come without casualties, yet the story offers lessons and hope for realizing this transformational dream.

Reviewed By

Review Beatrix Hoffman (2017) Review of "The Power to Heal: Civil Rights, Medicare, and the Struggle to Transform America's Health Care System". Bulletin of the History of Medicine (pp. 672-673). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Blevins, Sue A.
Engel, Jonathan
Stevens, Rosemary A.
Pearn, John
Mann, Tamara
Beier, Lucinda McCray
Social History of Medicine
Health and History
Journal of World History
Journal of American History
Victorian Literature and Culture
Johns Hopkins University Press
Cato Institute
Duke University Press
Ohio State University Press
New York, City University of
University of North Carolina Press
Health care
Civil rights
Public health
Dickens, Charles
Crafts, Hannah
Orihuela, Andrés Avelino de
United States
Southern states (U.S.)
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
18th century
21st century
American Medical Association
Association of Minority Health Professions Schools (AMHPS)

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