On October 10, 1952, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech in Salt Lake City in which he reiterated his opposition to socialized medicine. In fact, he had long asserted that he would “use every single attribute and influence of the Presidential office to defeat any move toward socialized medicine.” But Ike also recognized that all Americans deserve some kind of basic medical care. Not long before his trip to Salt Lake, he had stated that: “Too many of our people live too far from adequate medical aid; too many of our people find the cost of adequate medical care too heavy.” Eisenhower’s compassion came in part from personal experience. He had seen his wife’s family “virtually wrecked” from having to pay big medical bills.
So how did Ike reconcile his opposition to socialized medicine with his recognition of medical needs? According to The Heart of Power, a wonderful book by David Blumenthal and James Morone, Eisenhower reconciled these two goals by pushing for federal subsidies of private insurance plans… (Read more and view comments at Forbes)