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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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be a great economic and human solution to their problems. This didn't ever get put over.

After Truman's surprise election in '48 the AMA got really frightened and started to collect $25 a head from its membership to fight socialized medicine in force, which meant to them any form of national health insurance, and also any health legislation at all. They got going at this late in '49, to organize. In August of '49 Albert and I went to Europe for the first time since the war. We wanted to see how health insurance was working in Great Britain and in France and asked Mike Connolly, the President's secretary, for letters to the Ambassadors in England and France so that we might see the ministers of health in those two countries. Attractive Ambassador David Bruce arranged for us to see the French Minister of Health, George Schniter, who was newly installed in this particular job in the recently formed French Cabinet. He was middle-aged, very handsome, very suave, but obviously he didn't know a great deal about the health problems of France. We asked him what forms of health insurance were in effect and about how many people were covered. As I remember it, he said about 45 percent of the people of France were covered through various industrial and national plans and he sent us to see the head of the equivalent to the social security system in the United States to tell us how the plans worked.

I remember asking Mr. Schniter about how many people were in mental hospitals. He looked at me blankly and said, “Oh,



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