NOVEMBER 28, 1945
NEW YORK, Tuesday—The press this morning reports that Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the American Medical Association Journal, has called President Truman's plan for a national health program "socialized medicine" at its worst. So the American Medical Association will oppose this plan and, I imagine, any other which would really help the nation to have better and more widespread medical care.
At the same time, I notice yesterday's statement by Dr. Claude Robinson, president of the Opinion Research Corporation, who said: "The evidence is irrefutable that the public strongly desires some easier way of paying for medical care… An overwhelming majority of the people (64 percent) say they personally prefer to pay in advance—more than half are willing to admit they have at some time experienced hardship in meeting medical bills."
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Under the plan as suggested to Congress, people will have a choice of doctors. As I read it, there is no compulsion, so that those who can afford to remain outside all insurance plans have not changed their situation in the least. They have never needed help to get medical care. This bill is designed to meet the needs of those who have not been able to meet their own needs in the past.
The country needs more doctors, but there will have to be some method by which those who practice in certain areas of the country are assured of a stable income. Otherwise, these areas will continue to be without medical care.
It is inevitable that new ideas always meet opposition. Yet in this particular case, not only do the new ideas have solid backing from many doctors, but the great mass of people affected are going to understand this situation and think of their own interests. Incidentally, these interests coincide with the interests of the nation, because a strong people are essential to a strong nation.
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New York is an interesting city to live in, because you never know where you will meet unusual situations. I was standing with my arms full of bundles waiting to cross the street, the other day, when a lady near me tried to take some of my bundles from me, saying: "May I carry them home for you?"
I insisted they were not heavy and that I was quite able to carry them home myself. Then it occurred to me that that was the type of kindness you expected in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, but which you hardly expect in a big city like New York. When it happens, it warms your heart. In the same way, if I stand for a long time without being able to get a taxi, sooner or later one is sure to drive up and either the driver or the passenger, addressing me by name, will turn out to be old acquaintances who are willing to help out!