Confirming our conversation of Wednesday I will try and tell you a little of what I am planning to do during the next few
months to familiarize Democratic leaders with The President's Health Program so that they will want to take the true story
to the voters in the coming campaign. The untruths that have been circulated about this great program by the American Medical
Association have achieved at least one benefit: everyone is aware that there is an Administration Health Program ad that the
AMA is fighting it tooth and nail.
In my extensive travels of the last two years I have found that few people know any details of the Administration Health Program;
all they know is what the AMA publicists have dinned into the ears of the general public and of course, that is all covered
by the one term, socialized medicine. As I see it, it is up to us Democrats to see that own leaders are first, educated to
the fact that it is NOT socialized medicine that The President is proposing and second, that the Program that is backed by
the Administration is one that the voters will demand when they understand it.
Democratic leaders must know the truth about this Program and the only way in which they can know this truth is for us of
the National Committee to take it to them. Then they, in turn, can explain health insurance and the other phases of the Program
to the voters of their communities. It is my belief that programs of this sort are "sold" not just by speakers on
platforms but in conversations between neighbors and acquaintances and so it is absolutely necessary that every Democratic
worker (there are over 300,000 of them in the country) be familiar with the proposed Health Program and able to point out
the untruths that have been circulated by the AMA.
There has been one school of thought that has advised that this year we make no issue of the Health Plan; that we just let
the opposition talk about it and that we sit back in silent scorn and refuse to be drawn into discussion about it. That is
a completely erroneous way of thinking in my estimation and I can think of no better way in which to court defeat than to
play the ostrich game concerning the Health Program. We must not just defend the Program, we must take the initiative and
"sell" our Program to the voters. The AMA unconsciously has provided us with a good springboard and we must take advantage
of this and use it as a springboard rather than something under which to hide.
We cannot rely on the press and radio to give our side of the story unless we make a conscious effort to see that what we
have to say is news and so cannot be ignored; we need to train speakers; we must circulate literature in which the Health
Program is explained in elementary terms that can be understood by what we call the precinct mind; and we need to assemble
exhibits that will graphically illustrate the need for the Administration Health Plan. These exhibits will be used at conferences
of Democratic leaders and workers and then will be on display in trailers that will tour various districts after the primaries.
Every dollar spent during the next three months will be worth much more than during the last three months before the election
so a contribution at this time will be of more value than one made later. I feel sure that there will be enough money forthcoming
for necessary campaign expenses but -- we need to start our work immediately. I cannot give you a detailed budget plan for
I have not worked it out but we need on our staff a couple of experts who are completely familiar with the Administration
Program to write speeches, to prepare literature for distribution and to assist with publicity. We need money for printing
and for visual presentations, etc.
I want to have a representative at many national conventions this spring to try and get more favorable resolutions passed.
These resolutions in themselves mean nothing but if an organization that came out against health insurance last year passes
a favorable resolution this year, it is newsworthy and we should be in a position to make the most of it. We need someone
to contact the key people in these organizations before the conventions; there is no question about or trying to fight the
AMA with the same weapons it is using for we never will have the means to do that but we have a program that is appealing
to the people so we do not need the same big guns that the opposition uses. It will be another case of David and Goliath but
David must have slingshot, at least.
As I told you the other day I am going to talk to the President about the possibility of holding an off-the-record conference
of medical leaders who are sympathetic to the Program. We must fight the AMA but not individual medical man who are not inimical
to our Program, and it seems to me the height of folly not to develop a reservoir of professional understanding and sympathy.
Only the President can do this, however. Physicians I know who realize the necessity for health insurance are a little hurt
because they never have been consulted and I feel sure only salutary results would occur if the President would hold such
an off-the-record conference. I have discussed this idea with several Governors, National Committeemen and women as well as
with medical leaders and they are all enthusiastic about it and feel that such a conference would do much to help in their
respective states. I am going to talk to the President about it as soon as he returns from Key West; I had an appointment
to see him before he left but unfortunately I was taken to the hospital with the flu the date of the appointment.
This is an inadequate presentation of what we are going to try and do to help explain the Administration Health Program to
the voters during the next six months but perhaps it will give you enough of an idea that you want to help us. I hope so.
Political contributions, even when earmarked for specific educational project, cannot exceed $5,000, as you know, but it is
not unlawful for two, three, four or five members of a family to contribute. I feel sure that any contributions intended to
be used by the Women's Division for furthering the President's Health Program can't be so earmarked with the understanding
and approval of the White House and the Committee Chairman.
In my estimation, this is the number one issue of the campaign we must devote much time and energy and imagination, as well
as money, to seeing that the opposition does not brand Truman Democrats as Socialists just by the simple method of labeling
the President's Health Program socialized medicine.
I hope you have a wonderful trip and I shall have the pleasure of seeing you upon your return, whether or not you decide to
assist us now in the work in which you both are so vitally interested. Because I think a dollar now will do the work of several
dollars later, I do hope you will decide to make a contribution now.