As the halls of Congress morph into a Critical Care Unit, the GOP’s prescription “to preserve our freedom” appears to be to pull the plug on Obamacare- STAT!
Although Senator Ted Cruz’s overt hysterics appear to have gone into temporary remission, the bilious rage against the Affordable Care Act escalates.
A Bitter Pill to Swallow
The health care crisis in America has a long troubling history, the bitter debate about Federally Funded Insurance, persistent.
For decades, Republicans have suffered from Chronic Obstructive Healthcare Syndrome, a debilitating disease characterized by acute agitation, myopic vision, paranoid delusions, ultimately devolving into a state of delirium.
The seemingly incurable disease first presented itself during the health care debate in the late 1940’s when President Harry Truman, a staunch supporter of National Health Insurance, argued before Congress that the federal government should play a role in health care.
Cries of “socialism” reverberated in the halls of Congress, and the histrionics we now associate with Chronic Obstructive Healthcare Syndrome began to appear like a bad rash.
In the chilly climate of the Cold War lawmakers wanted to make sure that the US would not catch a bad case of socialized medicine.
Because America was on red alert, opponents to Compulsory Health Insurance were able to make socialized medicine a symbolic issue in the growing crusade against Communist influence in America
The revered leader of the Republican party in domestic affairs, Senator Robert Taft was dead set against National Health Insurance.
In his cool, Ohio twang Taft declared gravely, “I consider it socialism. It is to my mind the most socialistic measure this Congress has ever had before it.” Taft suggested that Compulsory Health Insurance, like the Full Unemployment Act, came right out of the Soviet Constitution and promptly walked out of the Congressional hearings.
It’s a Medical Fact
But no one was more vehemently opposed to National Health Insurance than the American Medical Association.
Determined the NHI would be DOA, the AMA poured millions of dollars successfully lobbying congress, and waging a massive slanderous public relations campaign forever entangling compulsory health insurance with that cold war boogeyman Communism.
Your Doctor Knows Best
Mid Century doctors were at the pinnacle of authority figures, riding the tide of unquestioning devotion.
So in 1948 when 32-year-old Frank Goodfellow went for his annual checkup, he took the expert advise of his genial family doctor Richard “Dick” Lawson very seriously. Nodding in agreement when Dr Lawson advised him to beef up his daily intake of heart-healthy, AMA-approved rich red meat, Frank listened implicitly as the good doctor spoke about health care and freedom in America.
Though Frank was in the pink of health, a gnawing, debilitating tension ate at him.
Like many Americans in the 1948 presidential election year, Frank was confused about the battle brewing in between the 2 parties concerning Presidents Truman’s proposed National Health Insurance.
After more than a decade of New Deal Democrats, in 1946 the Republicans had finally taken control of Congress and had no interest in enacting Compulsory Health Insurance charging it was a socialist scheme. Now that Truman was up for reelection, the President was pushing hard for the health care bill, his opponents fighting back even harder charging the possibility of its passage would result in dire consequences to the health of the nation.
Perplexed, Mr Goodfellow turned to his trusted family doctor for some help.
.After listening to Frank’s account of his concerns, Dr Dick-as he was affectionately known-leaned back in his comfortable cordovan leather chair, put a fresh match to the pipe he was smoking and grew thoughtful. Removing his glasses he came right to the point:
Compulsory health insurance was, simply put…un-American!
The Voluntary Way is the American Way
Socialized medicine or anything that even looked or smelled like socialized medicine gave Dr. Richard Lawson the chills and fever.
Reaching across his big oak desk, Dr. Dick handed Frank a pamphlet put out by the AMA entitled “A threat to health – a threat to freedom!”
The good doctor put on his reading glasses and read aloud from the brochure:
“Freedom is coming under attack,” he began solemnly. “In much of the world today the people have resigned from running their own countries. Others have been quick to step in- first with the promises of security and then with whips and guns- to run things their way. The evidence is on every front page in the world everyday.”
Frank grimaced in agreement as he took a long drag from his cigarette.
“The reality of war has made every American think hard about the things he’s willing to work and fight for- and freedom leads the list.”
The doctor looked up from his reading, giving former Private First Class Goodfellow time to absorb what he had been saying.
“But that freedom has been attacked here recently just as it has been attacked in other parts of the world.” To emphasize the point, the doctor read slowly: “One of the moist serious threats to individual freedom has been the threat of Government dominated Compulsory Health Insurance, falsely presented as a new guarantee of health “security” for everybody.”
Leaning in close, his face flushed with determination, Dr Dick, somberly explained the grave consequences of such an act as spelled out by the AMA..
“Would socialized medicine lead to socialization of other phases of life? Lenin thought so. He declared socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state.”
Putting the down the brochure, Dr Lawson appeared to brush a tear from his eye.
Like all good standing members of the AMA,Dr. Dick believed that compulsory health care would limit physician autonomy and income and cause doctors to “become clock watchers and slaves of a system.”
“It is my business to keep you healthy Frank,” he said sadly, the plume of pipe smoke forming a blue haze around him, “but with this alien way of life, of socialism doctors would be mere slaves.”
With the same agility and shrewdness he had diagnosed Franks bursitis, Dr Dick went on to dissect the cancer that would be striking at the very heart of American freedom- Compulsory Health Insurance, the first step towards Communism.
“Communism,” he stated firmly, “was invading our shores.”
Communists were like cancer cells Dr Lawson skillfully explained to Frank, “a monster gone berserk. Relentlessly increasing their numbers, cancerous Communists proceed to crowd out healthy societies and begin to steal from the normal countries around them.”
Driving home the point the dedicated doctor continued. “Communists, like germs lived amongst us undetected and could attack and infiltrate anytime. If you were invaded by germs you could end up in an iron lung- if you were infiltrated y Communism you could end up behind the iron curtain. If we had socialized medicine we were one step closer to being enslaved.
Squirming uneasily in his chair, his legs sticking uncomfortably to the seat covered in plastic Fabrilite, Frank Goodfellow shook his head. “It sounds awful,” he said slowly breathing hard. There was more perspiration on his forehead and the color of his glowing pink skin seemed pale and drained of color.
Leaning forward in his chair, Dr Lawson concluded.“Keeping thing as they were was the only cure for a healthy America.”
“The American health system,” Dr Lawson diagnosed conclusively “didn’t need any curing.”
A country consumed with anti communist sentiment, shrouded in suspicion apparently agreed. Unable to resuscitate the badly bruised National health Insurance bill, it died an unremarkable death in the Congressional committee.
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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