April 18, 2013

I’m reading this book about the history of health care reform in the 20th century and there’s a couple fascinating quotes in there:

As a result of the Republican gains in 1946, [Ohio senator Robert] Taft now chaired the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, which he used as a forum to convince the public of the dangers of national health insurance and to promote his alternative plan for federal aid to the states for medical care for the poor. During committee hearings, Taft called 29 friendly witnesses but only a single opposition witness, a representative of the International Workers Order, a well-known communist organization. The hearings became an inquisition into “socialized medicine.”

Sick trolling skills

Although Eisenhower made a nationally televised plea for the reinsurance proposal and appeared personally before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to assure them that he had no desire to regulate their products, his efforts were to no avail. The AMA, ever watchful of government intervention, immediately denounced reinsurance as socialism and lobbied against it in Congress.

Even a big-time Republican war hero like Dwight D. Eisenhower got called a socialist

Then the elderly took to the streets, an attention-getting move since people 65 and older are the least likely of all age groups to protest or take part in a demonstration. In a scene replayed over and over on the nightly news, several dozen angry seniors accosted Representative Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, as he attempted to drive away from a meeting. […] The demonstrators surrounded Rostenkowski’s car, beating it with picket signs, pounding on the windows, and shouting “Coward!” “Recall!” and “Impeach!” A shaken Rostenkowski abandoned his car and fled the scene on foot.

Here’s a video of it, but it’s not quite as awesomely dramatic as the quote makes it: