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March 21, 1953


JAMA. 1953;151(12):1032-1039. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940120066022a

A studied attempt has been made to classify the recommendations of the Truman Commission on the Health Needs of the Nation as a middle-of-the-road program built on the solid foundation of voluntary health insurance. This claim demands our attention before examining the many parts of the report. The recommendations on financing (I, 47-48) significantly omit the word "voluntary" in reference to prepayment plans or prepaid insurance. After spending almost $600,000 of National Defense funds, the commission took the wrong fork in the road, ignoring the turn marked voluntary health insurance and drove off into an open field where the members could put the fence posts and fences wherever they pleased, thereby claiming a middle-of-the-road position. In this unbounded field of prepaid insurance or prepaid plans, not fenced in by the word "voluntary," the commission could advocate almost any scheme that would provide for advance payment of the costs of illness.

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