JANUARY 30, 1943
WASHINGTON, Friday —Yesterday afternoon I had a very interesting visit from Mr. William H. Dennis of the State Department, and Dr. Arndt of the United States Office of Education, who is working with the State Department on cultural relations between the United States and the Far East. They brought three young Chinese students, who, after obtaining their college degrees in this country, are gaining practical experience along teaching lines, so that they may be able to decide what will be useful to their people in our scheme of public education.
I have an idea that rural education is going to loom very large in China for a time. A combination of the basic tools necessary to obtain any kind of education and technical knowledge about the agricultural problems which confront the people of China, may be the most valuable kind of education.
I doubt very much whether we have ever developed the type of medical service which will eventually be useful in China. We are still groping to discover the best ways of reaching our people, all of our people, that is to say, with good medical care.
I received a letter the other day enclosing an article which describes the Group Health Cooperatives, Incorporated. This is a non-profit medical service corporation in New York City. It is a health insurance plan under which 2500 physicians in all fields of medicine and surgery offer their services to subscribers at an average cost of two-and-one-quarter cents a day.
The basic annual cost to an individual is $9.60 and $24 paid by a family offers surgical care in any hospital, in the doctor's office, or the subscriber's home. It also covers obstetrical care at home or at any hospital, and medical service while the subscriber is a bed patient in any hospital, or for any illness not requiring surgical or obstetrical care. This plan, of course, is designed for people with incomes from $1,800 to $3,000. Under certain circumstances, people pay additional amounts for services outside those specified.
Germany was the originator of the insurance principle many years ago. Then Great Britain followed, accepting this as the best method of incorporating government interest on low income groups as to health and employment. We seem to be following this lead, but there is also the possibility that the need might be met through taxation. It seems to me that a direct health tax bill for all might be a more democratic way of achieving the same results. In any case, I hope we shall examine various ways before making any one of them universal.