Vital Speeches of the Day later published the full text under the headline, "Encroaching Control: Keep Government Poor and Remain Free."
Reagan made an alarming argument: Americans were slowly surrendering to socialism just as some socialists had predicted they would.
"Not too long ago," Reagan said, "Norman Thomas, six times a candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, commented that 'the American people would never knowingly vote for socialism but that under the name of liberalism, they would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.'"
Reagan pointed to several examples, starting with health care.
"Traditionally, one of the easiest first steps in imposing socialism on a people has been government-paid medicine," said Reagan. "It is the easiest to present as a humanitarian project. No one wants to oppose care for the sick."
Four years before Medicare was enacted and 50 years before Obamacare, Reagan explained how the left was already pushing for compulsory health insurance as an intermediate step toward complete government control of medicine.
"It is now proposed that all people of Social Security age be given government paid medical and hospital care," said Reagan. "Once again, emergency is invoked, and we are given a picture of millions of senior citizens desperately needing medical care and unable to finance it. In all the emotional presentation, the backers of this program seem strangely reluctant to face the facts."
These facts, said Reagan, were that in 1961 more than two-thirds of American seniors already had private health insurance, and the percentage of Americans insured was growing. "As near as can be determined," he said, "less than 10 percent of our senior citizens require aid in meeting their medical needs."
But the socialists' aim was to control more than just the health care of the elderly. Back then, they were already advancing a bill in Congress "to force all people into a compulsory government health insurance program, regardless of need.
"Why?" asked Reagan. "Well, ex-Congressman (Aime) Forand provides the answer. He says, 'If we can only break through and get our foot in the door, then we can expand the program after that.'"
And, of course, they did. Medicare and Medicaid led to Obamacare. Obamacare, if left in place, will lead to a single-payer system.
Reagan applied the same correct reasoning to Social Security.