Here's a memorable statement against U.S. health care reform: "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... we will awake to find that we have socialism. And if you don't do this and if I don't do it [to kill this idea], 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." Who said it?
Sounds like a polite version of the Town Hall accusations about Nazi plots and death panels. But the quote is 45 years old and comes from Ronald Reagan, then the spokesman for the American Medical Association. The creeping socialism Reagan was fighting was the 1964 legislation to create Medicare.
The Medicare bill passed in 1965. President Lyndon Johnson called it a tribute to President Harry Truman, who had tried to add a basic national health insurance plan to Social Security--and failed under the blistering opposition of doctors.
Now it's the insurance companies fueling the opposition to Obama's plan. The rhetoric is hotter and nastier. But Grandpa sure isn't pulling his grandkids to his knee and telling them that Medicare stole his freedom.