MAY 13, 1947
HYDE PARK, Monday—As long as I discussed the National Health Insurance Bill yesterday, I want to mention today the National School and Health Bill which has been introduced in the House and has been referred to the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce.
This bill tackles a problem that we all know needs to be understood by the nation. There is totally inadequate service in our schools today in the way of health examinations and follow-ups for the children, but without the national health insurance plan, I doubt if this bill can possibly meet the needs of the people.
The defects that children have when they reach school must be prevented by recognition and care in the first years of their lives, and no child should come to school for the first time without having had a comprehensive physical examination. After that, it is essential that periodically examinations be made in school by well-qualified doctors, because children develop certain difficulties—such as eye, ear or psychological troubles—which appear when they are in school and are often brought about by conditions they are encountering for the first time. In addition, school often brings the first exposure to contagious diseases, which are often followed by other ailments.
While I think the National School and Health Bill is important, I think the National Health Insurance Bill must come first, and this bill must be an improvement on the present health services in the schools, which are certainly completely inadequate.
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We live up here in the country under the illusion that we are cut off from the world and that few people will come our way. But last week we had the pleasure of several foreign visitors. We had a visit from two delightful representatives from Uruguay, Mr. and Mrs. Fontania; then a visit from Mrs. Zoltan Tildy, wife of the President of Hungary, who was accompanied by the Hungarian Minister to this country, Aladar Szegedy-Maszak, and his wife. We also had a writer from Great Britain, Mr. Luscombe, and a member of the United Nations subcommission on minorities and discrimination, Mr. McNamara of Australia. I felt that we were importing a little bit of the United Nations into the countryside of New York State.
I was particularly interested in Mrs. Tildy's desire to see the operations of the TVA and the working of our cooperatives, and to develop as well as she could an understanding of those things in our democracy which might be used in the development of greater democracy and freedom in Hungary.
I am very grateful to a number of people who have sent me helpful letters on the making of butter and I shall report to you when I do my next churning!