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The U.S. Has Sponsored Universal Health Care – in Iraq, 3L Observes in Inquirer Blog

Matthew Maughan

February 19, 2015

3L Matthew Maughan reframed the controversy surrounding Obamacare, observing in The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Field Clinic blog on Feb. 18 that the U.S., under President George W. Bush, provided universal health care coverage to Iraqi citizens.

The Iraqi Constitution supported by President Bush conferred the right to health care upon all citizens, Maughan wrote, adding that his administration budgeted $950 million in 2003 to develop a universal health care system.

Most of the funds were targeted toward building medical facilities and providing vaccinations and other pharmaceutical products, wrote Maughan, who is completing a concentration in Health Law.

“Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services at the time, explained that such funding was appropriate for Iraq but not the United States,” Maughan wrote. “He stated that even if you don’t have health insurance in America, ‘you are still taken care of in America. That certainly could be defined as universal coverage.’”

Maughan highlighted the contradiction, calling it “quite interesting that the United States government was willing to fund universal health care for Iraqis, and yet such a program for United States citizens wouldn’t be possible even in President Obama’s wildest dreams.”

In previous blog entries, Maughan has explored topics including legal challenges to Obamacare and the unauthorized use of health records.

The blog, which debuted in 2012, was launched by Professor Robert Field, a noted authority on health law and health care policy.  The respected contributors Field has recruited include American College of Physicians Senior Vice President Robert B. Doherty, Wharton School Professor Mark V. Pauly and Independence Blue Cross Senior Vice President Elizabeth A. Williams.

Field has previously recruited guest bloggers who include alumnae Erica Cohen Mallon, ’13, an associate at Carlton Fields Jorden and Burt in Tampa, Fla., Katheryne Lawrence, ’13, special projects officer at the Washington, D.C. Department of Health Care Finance, and Krystyna Dereszowska, ’14, a health law fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Office of the General Counsel.