George J. Mitchell

U.S. Senate : Legislative Records. Health Care, 1983-1994.

57.5 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M202.6.2.5

Background Note:
Senator Mitchell's office was involved with health care legislation throughout most of his Senate career, primarily from 1983 through 1994. Christine Williams, a legislative aide, was Mitchell's advisor on health care issues. With the support of other legislative aides and legislative fellows, she did research, advised the senator, and drafted legislation about various aspects of health care. Senator Mitchell primarily concerned himself with the economics of health care, particularly the cost of medical insurance and the federal entitlement programs, Medicare and Medicaid, whose rising costs during the 1980s and 1990s were of great concern to health care professionals, government officials, and the general public. Notable plans to reform the health care system included the 1987 catastrophic health care coverage proposal, the 1988 long-term care coverage bill, and President Clinton's reform bill of 1993. Senator Mitchell proposed his own reform bills, including the HealthAmerica bill of 1991 and a 1994 reform bill.

In addition to the economic aspects of health care, Mitchell was concerned with the nursing shortage and public policy issues such as fetal tissue research. One of the lasting effects of this research on health care issues was the contribution to the creation of the National Advisory Council for Health Care Policy, Research, and Evaluation, which provides advice and recommendations on priorities for a national health care agenda.

Health care reform was one of the most controversial and consuming legislative efforts of Mitchell's career. There was consensus among the public and legislators that the health care system needed repair, but lack of consensus about how to repair it. Accordingly, the legislative effort did not result in comprehensive legislation.

Files in this series were generated from 1983 through 1994. Most focus primarily on economic aspects of health care except for the Public Health series which focuses on public policy and ethics. Subjects include health care reforms; congressional budgets for the funding of federal health care programs; long-term care; public health; health care and the nursing shortage in Maine. Issues that emerged and were discussed during Mitchell's senate career include insurance coverage for uninsured poor and elderly, the streamlining of health care delivery, the sources of excessive health care costs, federal mandates versus marketplace incentives as tools to manage the health care system, and sources for funding federal benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid. Files also contain information on many national and local health care organizations and advocacy groups, including the: Small Business Legislative Council, the National Leadership Coalition for Health Care Reform, and the National Health Policy Forum. Files also contain correspondence with noted legislators such as Senator Kennedy and Representative Waxman, and health care professionals such as Senator Wofford.

Most of the files were maintained by Christine Williams. Some were created by Oliver Fein, Jeff Sanders, and Judy Wang. Some long-term care records were produced by Robert Crittendon. Some memos and correspondence were written by Steve Hart and Parashar Patel but were kept mostly by Christine Williams.

Because these series are interrelated, files on a particular subject may be found in more than one series. For example, files on how to pay for AIDS treatments may be found in the Medicare/Medicaid Programs, Health Care Budget, and Health Care Reform series; while files concerning AIDS prevention may be found in the Public Health series. In addition, some records relating to one series may simply be filed in another series. For example, files belonging in the Medicare/Medicaid Programs series might be found in the Long-Term Care series. The Veterans' Affairs series contains files on health care benefits for veterans.

Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · · (207) 725-3288