Orland Park Public Library hosts A Century of Citizen Action in Health Care Reform

Nov. 8, 2016
Orland Park Public Library will be hosting an exhibit called For All the People: A Century of Citizen Action in Health Care Reform, which will be accompanied by a presentation from Presenter, Beatrix Hoffman the exhibition's curator.
Hoffman is author of the book Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States since 1930, and Professor of History at Northern Illinois University.
Health care reform has been a contentious political issue in the United States for more than a hundred years. From the beginning of the 20th century to today, citizens have made their voices heard in these debates. Even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which expanded access to health insurance coverage for millions of people, Americans continue to disagree on whether and how to make quality health care available to all.
Early in the 20th century, rapid industrialization, new waves of immigration, and growing labor unrest made the health of workers and the poor a matter of national concern. Citizen groups worked with doctors and nurses to find ways to extend medical care to more people. Starting in the 1920s, health care became more expensive, putting medical advances beyond the reach of many Americans. Attempts to establish a national system of insurance repeatedly failed, but activist citizens and health professionals worked to expand access by creating public health services, developing new types of coverage, and fighting hospital discrimination.
Health care reform is usually associated with presidents and national leaders, but this exhibit and presentation tells the lesser-known story of how movements of ordinary people helped shape the changing American health care system. The six-banner traveling exhibit highlights images from over one hundred years of citizen action for health care reform.
The participation of grassroots groups in battles over health care reform continues in 21st century. Activism helped shape the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which outlawed most types of insurance discrimination and extended health coverage to many of the uninsured. Citizens’ groups faced off at town meetings during the battle over “Obamacare,” and are playing a major role in the debate over the constitutionality and implementation of the law.
New types of citizen action have also emerged to address new health care challenges, from illness and disability among military veterans to the rising number of elderly in the United States.
This traveling exhibit is sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, on display at the Orland Park Public Library from November 21 to December 31.
Hoffman will speak about the history of health care reform in the United States and the involvement of citizens and activist groups in health care debates over the past century on December 2 at 7 p.m.
To find out more about this exhibit and more from the National Library of Medicine please visit nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/forallthepeople.
The Orland Park Public Library is located at 14921 Ravinia Avenue in Orland Park, IL 60462. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to orlandparklibrary.org.