The fear just doesn't stop, and it didn't stop in 1961. Before he was governor, Ronald Reagan was busy stirring up fears of Socialized Medicine, terrifying people into believing any sort of Public Health Care was a direct product of communism and government meddling.
And so, when the Medicare debate began during its first incarnation in 1961 (the bill was defeated owing to just these scare tactics and the influence of the Dixiecrats - the precursor to our Blue Dogs), people like Ronald Reagan flocked to the cause of the Insurance lobby, big Pharma and the AMA with the sole intent of scaring the living crap out of every human being within the United States.
And so the fear in 1961, as now is a misguided attempt at keeping the status quo pure by stamping out any thought an alternative may exist.
Ain't it all grand?