Letter to Senator Murray Concerning a Bill for a National Health Program.
Dear Senator Murray:
It has been most gratifying to observe the deep interest displayed and the progress made by the Senate Education and Labor Committee under your Chairmanship in the conduct of the hearings on S. 1606, the bill designed to give legislative effect to a large part of the National Health Message which I submitted to the Congress on November 9, 1945.
In providing generally for medical and hospital services under S. 1606, it is intended that these most essential and valuable benefits be within the reach of those persons who are not eligible for medical and hospital services under existing laws and be afforded to some persons already eligible therefor, in whole or in part, who for various practical reasons do not have such services made readily available. The latter aspect of the program is deserving of special attention to remove any doubts as to the real effects intended by the proposed legislation.
It is not intended that existing programs of medical and hospital services are to be supplanted. For example, it is not intended that our obligations to veterans for medical and hospital care shall be changed or impaired in either service connected or nonservice connected cases. The special provisions for veterans under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration reflect our nation's gratitude for their services and I urge that when the bill emerges from your Committee it provide in explicit terms for the preservation of medical and hospital services under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration.
A National Health program such as I have recommended, and as envisaged in S. 1606, would make it possible for persons to get complete medical and hospital services locally. As to veterans the program would merely provide additional means of securing medical and hospital care. Veterans with non-service connected disabilities, in common with others, would become entitled to out-patient treatment. As to persons eligible under other laws, particularly veterans, the program under S. 1606 would include the families of such persons for complete medical and hospital services which benefit is not now available to them.
I have conferred with the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs and the Federal Security Administrator and they share in my convictions.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
[Honorable James E. Murray, United States Senate, Washington, D.C. ]
Harry S Truman, Letter to Senator Murray Concerning a Bill for a National Health Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232827