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The 'Demagogic Blowfish' of Yesteryear: The New Yorker's Chronicle of the Last Health Care Battle

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Jonathan Taylor writes:

In 1966, a five-part [correction: four-part, as correctly stated in today's subsequent Back Issues post] Annals of Legislation piece by Richard Harris in The New Yorker chronicled "the long, legislative, and anti-legislative activity which preceded the achievement of 'medical care...a basic human right' certainly in a country whose people had not only been 'ill fed, ill housed' but also ill," in the words of the Kirkus review of the book version of the series, A Sacred Trust.

Kirkus continues:

The fight went on for more than three decades from the time when the A.M.A., a monolithic obstruction in the body politic, determined to keep "public health in private hands," spent fifty million dollars opposing what ultimately would result in Medicare. This traces the whole unhealthy history of A.M.A. political power ploys, first in the hands of that demagogic blowfish, Dr. Fishbein, then in those of a p.r. organization, down through all the administrations and bills, submitted and defeated, on Capitol Hill.


Wow! That’s great work, Jonathan. I have read a couple of histories of the struggle to achieve sensible health care coverage in the United States, and at every juncture the AMA is the bad guy.

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