Harry S. Truman: Special Message to the Congress Recommending a Comprehensive Health Program

(1945)

On November 19, 1945, President Harry S. Truman sent his Special Message to the Congress Recommending a Comprehensive Health Program, in which he proposed a dramatic expansion of the federal government's role in the nation's health care system. A major goal of the plan was to ensure that all communities—small or large, rich or poor—had access to doctors and hospitals. He emphasized that such measures were urgently needed, pointing out that some 1,200 counties, representing 40 percent of the nation's counties and 15 million people, lacked a local hospital or had one that failed to meet the minimum standards of national professional associations.


Truman's proposals resulted in a bill that would enact his proposals as expansions of Social Security. The bill, cosponsored by Senator Robert Wagner of New York, Senator James Murray of Montana, and Representative John Dingell of Michigan, ran into intense opposition. The American Medical Association vigorously opposed the bill,...

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Harry Truman (Library of Congress)

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