But, on the day of (mercifully) the final debate prior to the 2012 United States presidential election, here's a book that, coincidentally, I stumbled across recently — "The Case Against Socialized Medicine."
A screed against our current president?
Nope. It's from 1949.
A brief history: In 1943, the Wagner-Murray-Dingell Bill was a proposal to provide government health care for most U.S. citizens. This caused many Americans to enter a state of apoplexy.2 No action was taken on the bill. New versions of Wagner-Murray-Dingell were reintroduced in 1945 (at President Truman's urging) and in 1947. It was during this heated battle over what, to some, was "socialized medicine," that a non-profit lobbying group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, was formed.
And it was during this period that this 54-page book by Lawrence Sullivan3, with its garish purple cover, was published. Here are some verbatim excerpts from the book and its dust jacket:
- This book presents in two-minute chapters the historical background of Socialized Medicine, as now advocated in the United States. It is a book of far-reaching significance, for if American medicine can be taken over by the Government, then every other activity also may be socialized under a gigantic federal bureaucracy.
- During the early years of Hitler's regime, the government's medical program was looked upon by many observers as one of the greatest props of the totalitarian state.
- Careful studies revealed that the average time spent by the German panel physicians in making a diagnosis is "from three to four minutes."
- Nobody would be permitted to select his own physician.
- The campaign for socialized medicine in the United States stems directly from Kremlin Communism.
If you haven't already guessed, this book does not represent a balanced look at the pros and cons of a national health-care plan.
Interestingly, this copy still includes some of its original ephemeral inserts, including a card with details on ordering additional copies. Here is a look at some of those inserts:
1. And the next-to-last thing you'll find me doing is getting gussied up in a brazzle-dazzle way, like this.
2. A condition which requires health care.
3. According to the dust jacket, Lawrence Sullivan was a former Northwestern University student who had been a journalist for more than 30 years. The "about the author" text concludes with this actual sentence: "He writes from the throbbing corridors of Capitol Hill." Um.