“From here, it’s a short step to all the rest of socialism,” Reagan, then an actor, warned in a 1961 record sponsored by the American Medical Association after President John F. Kennedy created a commission that laid the foundation for Medicare.
Many of the arguments against President Barack Obama’s overhaul effort are refrains from previous debates over health- care policy and Social Security dating to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman.
“There are substantial echoes of the past rhetoric in what we’re hearing today,” said presidential historian Robert Dallek.
In 1945, the AMA helped portray Truman’s proposal for national health insurance as a creep toward communism. Three years later, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce produced a pamphlet, “You and Socialized Medicine.” In 1993, the health-insurance industry tried to scuttle President Bill Clinton’s proposed overhaul by funding ads featuring a fictional couple who decried a “government takeover” of health care.
Time to try some new arguments, people.