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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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Part:         Session:         Page of 1143

Q:

What a marvelous opportunity this offered you to advance your interest and ideas.

Lasker:

Yes, but this is why I suggested this to them to begin with. It was my idea that the President should send a health message, initially, and I had to get the concurrence of Anna Rosenberg and of Rosenman, and they got the concurrence of Roosevelt. And then nothing happened, and then Rosenman got the concurrence of Truman.

I think I'll go on about what happened about the health message. Well, in any case, the war ended in August of '45. A great deal had happened: Truman had to make many trips; many people were very busy; and there was no more talk about the health message. It was just one of those things that didn't seem to be of high priority.

I got an appointment with President Truman through Robert Hannagan--Anna Rosenberg had arranged it for me--for the 8th of September, 1945, and I went to see President Truman--it was the first time I had ever met him--to ask if he wouldn't go ahead with the idea of the health message to Congress. I told him that he would be the first President in the history of the country who would have taken an interest in the health of the people. This appealed to him very much and he said he would. And he was interested in health. He was sympathetic to the idea of health programs without knowing anything about the field. He was interested in the general idea of health insurance because he had



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