NOVEMBER 24, 1945
HYDE PARK, Friday—I have signed today an endorsement of President Truman's health message. There is only one point that seems to me not quite to coincide with our practice in other things. For instance, you do not pay school taxes only up to a certain percentage of your income. You pay taxes according to the size of your income. Furthermore, no matter what your income may be, you can send your children to public school, and it seems to me that the same should apply in the case of these new health services. The proposed tax is to be four percent on incomes up to $3600 a year. No matter how much income we have, only that amount, apparently, is taxed for this plan; and only people with that income, or less, are expected to make use of it.
Unless the health needs of the people as a whole can be met by this tax on a portion of the national income, it would seem to me entirely fair to expect to be taxed in proportion to our income, just as we are taxed for education. In some places the school tax may be based on real estate instead of income, but at least everyone pays the same ratio to his possessions. It seems to me that those of us who have more income or more land, whichever the basis of the tax, should pay regardless of whether we use the health plan or not—on the theory that all citizens are entitled to take advantage of any plan which is for the good of the citizens in general. If they do not take advantage of it, that is their choice.
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This does not seem to me to have anything whatever to do with socialized medicine; and I am particularly glad that the proposed plan recognizes the need for giving help to our medical schools, since research and education are essential to keeping up the standards of medical care. This may make it possible for young doctors to work in rural communities, where medical care has been very inadequate in the past.
Medical practice is so varied in a rural community that it probably would give invaluable experience to any young man who was willing to put in up to five years in doing this kind of work. It is probably the most exacting kind of work that can be done, and yet it might reach for the first time sections of our country which, from the health point of view, have been almost totally neglected in the past.
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Lack of space prevented me from mentioning that the Salvation Army some days ago had its 80th celebration in Kansas City. General Evangeline Booth, who will be 80 years old on Christmas Day, is still able to carry on and help in this organization. This international organization was started in 1865, when William Booth left his pulpit to bring spiritual guidance and material assistance to the slums of East London. Now, 110 countries and colonies are familiar with Salvation Army activities. I think the thing I like about them above all else is that there is no one whom they look upon as unredeemable!