And wasn’t it ever so thoughtful of the Kennedys (and LBJ and Carter) to ensure that a regular supply of assassins would be walking the streets?
Reagan — often blamed for “deinstitutionalization” — was shot at by a guy whose freedom at the time of the attempt had been virtually assured by one Kennedy or another’s efforts.
Crusades based upon one’s personal tragedies almost always produce sinister results:
Among the recipients of lobotomy was 23-year-old Rosemary Kennedy, the future president’s sister, who wound up severely disabled by the procedure in 1941. (…) her siblings embarked on a lifetime crusade against institutionalization and invasive treatment (…)
In 1963, President Kennedy laid the groundwork for an alternative to the asylums, proposing a federal law that, once passed, provided the seed money for a system of decentralized Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs). These facilities sought to remove the mentally ill from the state-run asylums and to incorporate them into more social, usually urban, settings. And two years later, Medicare and Medicaid, creations of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, erected a new funding apparatus that effectively, if unintentionally, drove patients out of the asylums. Since mental institutions had always been a state responsibility, the two federal programs deliberately excluded state mental-hospital patients between the ages of 22 and 65 from coverage. Patients passing through the CMHCs, by contrast, could now be eligible for partial federal reimbursements. The ability to shift 45 percent of treatment costs, on average, to Washington proved too great a temptation for the states, which promptly began emptying their asylums.