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[Editorial] America, all things not being equal

In a special message to Congress, the case was made for a comprehensive national health programme, “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 time was Nov 19, 1945, and the author was President Harry S Truman. With that letter, the idea of a federally run, optional, universal health-care plan for the USA was born—a proposal considered as radical and groundbreaking to some now as it was to the Republican-controlled Congress of Truman’s presidency.