How Truman's Medicare Efforts Were Foiled by Red Baiting

trumanIn The Heart of Power, David Blumenthal and James Morone relate the 75 year history of presidential efforts (typically unsuccessful) to reform the U.S. healthcare system.  I used to think major reform efforts did not happen for many years after FDR’s New Deal.  After all, social security had taken a huge dent out of poverty among the elderly.  But healthcare costs were rising throughout the 1940s, and Harry Truman, FDR’s successor, was determined to provide all Americans with affordable healthcare.  In his 1948 State of the Union Address, Truman made his values clear.

“The greatest gap in our social security structure is the lack of adequate provision for the Nation’s health…this great Nation cannot afford to allow its citizens to suffer needlessly from the lack of proper medical care.”

But with the communist Soviet Union on the rise, Truman’s ideas were susceptible to accusations of socialism.  Republicans and conservative Democrats used the Health Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department to look for communists that might be influencing Truman’s healthcare reform efforts… (Read more and view comments at Forbes)