By Ben Mutschler

John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony

Many countries have devised solutions to the most pressing problems we face in health care today — overwhelming costs and large numbers of uninsured and underinsured people. President Barack Obama has made it clear that the only politically viable possibilities for reform in the country must be consistent with traditional American ideals and practices. Opponents of the “public option” have underscored this point in recent weeks, claiming that the plan would violate “market freedoms” and place government bureaucrats in the middle of the private relationship between patient and physician. Such a plan, they say, is un-American. Despite such rhetoric, there is, in fact, a long history in this country of government provision for the sick. (read more at