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Notable New     Yorkers
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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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Well, it was beginning on a very small scale. And it helped to liberalize the Blue Shield provisions. The Blue Shield was a doctors-sponsored, very conservative effort at that time, and Group Health Insurance was more liberal in what it was planning to do. And I felt that this group was making a noble voluntary effort in trying to bring services to people that they desperately needed, the service of insurance to people at a reasonable price.


What was Mr. Lasker's initial reaction to this?


Well, he wasn't deeply interested in it, but he was willing to go along with me if I thought it was so important. He later became very interested in the idea of a national health insurance in association with social security, but at this time he wasn't.

Winslow Carlton became the head of Group Health Insurance and Arthur Harlow was next in command. Harlow, I believe, is still the head of it. It was a needed effort, as I've said, because the Associated Hospital Service, as Blue Cross was then called, didn't sell any medical services and Blue Shield was in its very early stages and very conservative.

I went on the Board of this organization for a time and we had quite a struggle in the beginning to get subscribers. I helped them to get American Tobacco Company's employees, 1200, the Bourgeois Perfume Company's employees of about 240, Planned Parenthood, Foote, Cohen and Belding; Radio Corporation's New

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