("Um . . I know this is a bad time but . . . .you're not covered.")
Note: This is a re-post from June.
The endless debate on Health Care. Every time the subject is brought up, screams of "Socialized Medicine" pop up - and somewhere, the ones doing the loudest screaming appear to come from the American Medical Association. Curious, that.
Case in point - this rather historic debate between Walter Reuther (yes, that Walter Reuther) and Dr. Edward R. Annis from the AMA from February 23, 1961. The gist of the debate centered around the Kerr-Mills bill, which had been introduced as an alternative health care plan.
Reuther: “And what bothers me, instead of being against all these things, instead of calling everything socialism, why don’t you sit down with other people and see if we can’t together find a practical mechanism?”
Annis: “Mister Reuther. . . .
Reuther: “Now the Kerr bill will not do the job, because only nine states come under the Kerr Bill. In the state of Kentucky they only provide, under the Kerr bill, three days of hospitalization. Now what happens at the end of that? Well, the person is either thrown on the indignity of the Public Charity or they’re pushed off to some poor farm. This is 1961. I think that’s not a rational sensible way to meet this problem."
The case for some kind of universal Health Care has been going on since somewhere after the Stone Age. Reuther, a staunch union man, makes the case for Universal Health Care. While Annis, a man with somewhat suspicious motives, is adamantly against it. Although he doesn't come right out and say as much, his argument is peppered with the buzzword "Socialized Medicine" and it's clear where his loyalties lie.
Needless to say, he was no supporter of Medicare when it came to light in 1964 and became law in 1965. He was also no supporter of the warning on cigarette packs saying it would be bad for business if people stopped smoking. But that's another story.
There is an interesting postscript at the end of this broadcast. CBS began a series of "Letters To CBS" and Smith reads some of the letters that poured in after the first hour of the debate from two weeks earlier. One writer, a doctor who chose to remain anonymous, supplied a copy of a letter allegedly circulated by the AMA to doctors, urging letters of condemnation of CBS and the concept of Universal Health Care as a step towards Socialism.
Even then, the fear card was being played for all it was worth.