Liberals complain Reagan quote is misused in health debate

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(The following is from Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog)

On August 14, the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, and O'Reilly Factor guest host Laura Ingraham featured a recording of Ronald Reagan speaking in 1961 against"socialized medicine" for the American Medical Association's Operation Coffee Cup Campaign against Medicare. Neither Drudge, Limbaugh, nor Ingraham, however, noted that Reagan was speaking out against an early version of Medicare, which has become very popular since it was enacted 44 years ago, or that Reagan's dire predictions of curtailments of freedom were never realized...

Reagan's 1961 missive was against Medicare's precursor legislation

Reagan's 1961 message was recorded as part of the American Medical Association's"Operation Coffee Cup," the goal of which"was to defeat legislation called King-Anderson, a congressional health care bill designed to assist older Americans that, in a watered-down version, ultimately came into being as Medicare." In the recording, Reagan warned that if the bill were passed, doctors would be told by the government where to live and where to practice, and that"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."...

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Michael Glen Wade - 8/19/2009

No surprise to see that Drudge, Ingraham and Limbaugh are mis-representing by omission. What is interesting is that they have excised the context of comments by Ronald Reagan, who often just made things up to make a point...quite appropriate for them to use the Great Dissimulator in this way. This little episode calls to mind Margaret Cleaver, who broke off her engagement to Reagan. Years later, she observed to biographer Edmund Morris that "He had an inability to distinguish between fact and fancy."

It is worth remembering that Medicare did not pass until the AMA got assurances that its members not only would not suffer from the legislation, but profit handsomely from it. It is also worthwhile to know that that the Great American Remora, the health insurance/care industry, began its systematic and lucrative exploitation of America's citizens in the immediate aftermath of Medicare's passage.

Meanwhile, the continuing myth that is Ronald Reagan will continue to be a bulwark of the right wing reactionaries and a barrier to the achievement of a more just, sustainable society.