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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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Truman's advocacy of health measures in his messages on health to Congress, the first and second ones sent as a result of our efforts in '45 and '47, had been the reason for the Republicans' feeling that they must do this in order to show that they were interested in people.

Both Howard Rusk and Russell Lee were consulted about what the health message should contain, and I am sure a number of others were also consulted about the health message. Howard Rusk got a large section on the need for rehabilitation in the message. The State of the Union message came first and the President said, “I'm flatly opposed to the socialization of medicine.” This was said, I presume, to lay the ghost or the bugaboo of socialized medicine which the AMA was constantly raising.

In addition he said, “Federal government should encourage medical research in its battle against such mortal diseases as cancer, heart ailments, and should continue to help the states in their health and rehabilitation programs.” He also plugged for more facilities for the chronically ill and for the construction of diagnostic centers, rehabilitation facilities, and nursing homes.

He also said, “Limited government reinsurance services would permit the private and non-profit insurance companies to offer broader protection to more of the many families which want and should have it.” This was a timid way of talking about insurance.

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