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November 24, 1945

A NATIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM: Message to Congress on a National Health Program from President Harry S. Truman

JAMA. 1945;129(13):888-891. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860470048016

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Abstract

To the Congress of the United States: 

In my message to the Congress of Sept. 6, 1945 there were enumerated in a proposed economic bill of rights certain rights which ought to be assured to every American citizen.  One of them was "the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health." Another was the "right to adequate protection from the economic fears of... sickness...."Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. The time has arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and that protection.The people of the United States received a shock when the medical examinations conducted by the Selective Service System revealed the widespread physical

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