Video: Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine
From the 1961 Operation Coffee Cup Campaign against Socialized Medicine as proposed by the Democrats, then a private citizen Ronald Reagan Speaks out against socialized medicine. There is no video because this was an LP sent out by the American Medical Association
Now back in 1927 an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said under the name of liberalism the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.
There are many ways in which our government has invaded the precincts of private citizens, the method of earning a living. But at the moment I’d like to talk about another way because this trip is with us and at the moment is more imminent.
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.
Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.
So with the American people on record as not wanting socialized medicine, Congressman Ferrand said, if we can only break through and get our foot inside the door, they can we can expand the program after that. Well, let’s see what the socialists themselves had to say about it. They say once the Ferrand bill is passed, this nation will be provided with a mechanism for socialized medicine capable of indefinite expansion in every direction until it includes the entire population. Well, we can’t say we haven’t been warned.
James Madison in 1788, speaking to the Virginia Convention said: “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
Now in our country under our free enterprise system, we have seen medicine reach the greatest heights that it has in any country in the world. Today, the relationship between patient and doctor in this country is something to be envied any place. The privacy, the care that is given to a person, the right to chose a doctor, the right to go from one doctor to the other.
But let’s also look from the other side, at the freedom the doctor loses. A doctor would be reluctant to say this. Well, like you, I am only a patient, so I can say it in his behalf. The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.
This is a freedom that I wonder whether any of us have the right to take from any human being.
In this country of ours, took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in world’s history. The only true revolution. Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another. But here for the first time in all the thousands of years of man’s relation to man, a little group of the men, the founding fathers for the first time – established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God given right and ability to determine our own destiny.
This freedom was built into our government with safeguards. We talk democracy today. And strangely we let democracy begin to assume the aspect of majority rule is all that is needed. Well, majority rule is a fine aspect of democracy, provided there are guarantees written in to our government concerning the rights of the individual and of the minorities.
What can we do about this? Well, you and I can do a great deal. We can say right now that we want no further encroachment on these individual liberties and freedoms and that you demand the continuation of our traditional free enterprise system. You and I can do this. The only way we can do it is by writing to our congressmen, even if we believe that he’s on our side to begin with, write to strengthen his hand. Write those letters now. Call your friends and tell them to write. If you don’t, this program, I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow. And behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country… until one day as Norman Thomas said, we will awake to find that we have socialism. And if you don’t do this and if I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.