Operation Coffee Cup

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The cover of Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine

Operation Coffee Cup was a campaign conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) during the late 1950s and early 1960s in opposition to the Democrats' plans to extend Social Security to include health insurance for the elderly, later known as Medicare. As part of the plan, doctors' wives would organize coffee meetings in an attempt to convince acquaintances to write letters to Congress opposing the program. The operation received support from Ronald Reagan, who in 1961 produced the LP record Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine for the AMA, outlining arguments against what he called socialized medicine. This record would be played at the coffee meetings.

Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin paraphrased Ronald Reagan from the 1961 album during the 2008 Vice-Presidential debate, "It was Ronald Reagan who said that freedom is always just one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream; we have to fight for it and protect it, and then hand it to them so that they shall do the same, or we’re going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children about a time in America, back in the day, when men and women were free." [1] Reagan did not actually use the phrase "freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction" in this speech. That came in his address to the annual meeting of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, on 30 March 1961.