Over and over, history has been manipulated to defeat universal healthcare. When the United States declared war on Germany in April, 1917, the goal of adopting universal healthcare died as the concept was said to be “made in Germany” and would result in the “Prussianization of America”. Germany, you’ll remember, led the world by adopting universal healthcare in 1883. In California, the state legislature passed a constitutional amendment providing universal healthcare and the issue was put on the ballot for ratification. Voters in the state received brochures with an image of the Kaiser and the copy: “Born in Germany. Do you want it in California?” Not surprisingly given the times, Californians voted against the amendment.
That attitude still characterizes some of the healthcare reform debate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has suggested that President Obama and supporters of healthcare reform are engaged in “an audacious effort to Europeanize the country.”