In founding the Pennsylvania Hospital, America’s wiliest Founding Father promoted public health by leveraging politics with religion.
Franklin said to the Assembly, You have to build it.
The Assembly said, No, you must do it with private donations. You can’t tax people in the country to pay for a city hospital.
Franklin said, That won’t work, it will never be enough, good health care costs a lot of money, remembering “the distant parts of this province” in which “assistance cannot be procured, but at an expense that neither [the sick-poor] nor their townships can afford.” …
The Assembly said, The people will never support it.
Franklin knew the majority of them already did.
He knew the people. He said to the Assembly, Here’s the idea. If I and my associates can raise such-and-such an amount of money (an enormous sum for the time), you will match it, and the project moves forward.
The Assembly said, Sure! They knew Franklin could never get the funds. This way they looked generous, at no expense.
Franklin went out and quickly raised a good deal more even than the sum he’d named. He used the slightly competitive nature of the matching-funds plan to ratchet up giving. The people had been ready. The Assembly, to which he would soon be elected, and its powerful landed interests had been screwed. Franklin later said he never felt less guilty about an act of deception in his life.
(Source: The Atlantic)