Expanding Social Security And The Universal Health Care Argument - 1948

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(The debate rages - sixty years and going strong)

In my continuing coverage of the Health Care debate and its historic place in our political life, here comes another debate via the NBC Radio program "America United" hosted by David Brinkley from June 27, 1948.

This debate, under the title "should we expand our Social Security coverage?" also takes on the subject of Universal Health Care, a proposal brought about months earlier by President Truman. It spends a good deal of time talking about the status of Social Security, since it was enacted in 1935, but the talk gets a bit heated when it turns to Health Care. The panel features Philip Pearl of the AF of L, Rep. John Dingell Sr. (D-Mich.) who co-authored a Universal Health Care bill in 1948. Dr. Emerson P. Schmidt of The U.S.Chamber Of Commerce and Dr. Lloyd Halverson of the National Grange.

Dingell is adamant about the subject of Health Care, despite the overwhelming amount of negative statements concerning the fear of "socialized medicine" (the ever-present mantra that continues to this day). It should also be noted that Dr. Lloyd Halverson was also a member of the AMA and this certainly shades his comments.

Rep. Dingell: “ The most important thing about Social Security, is that which was never put in; that’s Health Insurance. It’s more important than Unemployment Insurance. It’s more important than old age pensions. It’s more important than annuities. It’s more important than aid to the widows and orphans for this reason; that a man can take care of all of these if he’s in health – and he can take care of none if he’s sick. . . . It was, as you agreed, a complex problem. And it was one to which there was so much opposition on the part of reactionaries in this country that it was deemed wise to delay it. But there is no further excuse for it now."

And sixty one years after that was said, there's still no excuse for it.

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