If you listened to the Democratic debates last week, you heard a great deal about government funded health care.
If you have paid attention to the news since Donald Trump has been president, you are aware that he and his party are against it and have made every effort to do away with what is referred to as Obamacare.
Government Health care has been a hot button issue for many years and will probably continue to be until the United States joins every other nation in providing health care for all citizens.
But I’ll bet you didn’t know just how long it has been an important issue.
The controversy first came up during Harry Truman’s tenure as president.
When Truman enlisted in the army in World War I, he was amazed by the number of men who were turned down for military duty because of poor health.
He felt it was because the country had inadequate health care in many parts of the country.
The rich had easy access, the poor were able to use various charity programs to get health care, but the middle class was left out.
So when he became president in 1945, he proposed what he thought was a reasonable solution. His idea was health care for all, paid for by a payroll tax.
In a resolution he sent to Congress in 1947, Truman wrote, “Healthy citizens constitute our greatest natural resource and prudence as well as justice demands that we husband that resource.
“As a nation we should not reserve good health and a long productive life for the well-to-do only, but should strive to make good health equally available to all citizens.”
The details of his plan were never hashed out because the American Medical Association campaigned against it, even hiring a P.R. Firm to fight the idea.
The ugly word “socialism” reared its head and that word has been used ever since to denigrate the idea of government health care involvement.
Other health organizations joined the fray
as they were told they would lose their independent status to make decisions and become a servant of a government bureaucracy.
Truman never got over his anger at the AMA.
He once wrote to a congressman that “At the proper time, we will take the starch out of them.”
His efforts toward health care weren’t completely for nothing however, because in 1946 the Hill-Burton act provided federal funds to build hospitals.
Years later during the Clinton administration, once again there was an effort to establish a health care plan, but again it was defeated.
But in 1965, Lyndon Johnson was able to get Medicare for those over sixty-five passed and he traveled to the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri to sign the act into law with Truman sitting beside him, as  he announced that Harry Truman was “the real daddy of Medicare.”