DECEMBER 24, 1952
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I am particularly interested in the health plan that the President's 15-Member Commission has recommended. If it is to be put in operation, of course, the new administration will have to study it and decide whether it is the best way that we can be sure to give all our people, as a basic human right, health services—free if need be for a few, and for all at very moderate cost.
I gather that the Compulsory Health Insurance Plan, which the American Medical Association objected to, is no longer under discussion. The commission, however, felt that there was a vast need "of medical personnel, health educational facilities, health centers, hospitals and services, and also the organization of these facilities to make them more available."
It was estimated that the annual cost to the taxpayers in accepting the recommendations of the commission would be $1,750,000,000 in Federal and state funds.
This is, of course, a tremendous sum of money. But when we look at the loss to industry on account of neglected illness and the loss to the country because of the neglect in the area of health among our children we realize that if this plan would actually meet the actual health needs of the country it would pay us many times to put it into operation. Many of our people are never able to contribute fully to the national economy because of illness and many more become complete charges on their communities.
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It is a sad commentary on the present scene for those representatives of Iron Curtain countries to suspect that the accident which befell Dr. Julius Katz-Suchy, Polish delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, was no accident at all. Word has been going around that perhaps the accident was a studied attempt on the part of the Polish delegate to escape going home to what might turn out to be imprisonment or death.
It seems impossible that this should be so, for even though the Communists may feel Dr. Katz-Suchy had, over here, too much contact with the West, nevertheless he showed in all his speeches in the U.N. a violent antipathy toward the West. Nobody has made more vitriolic speeches. That being the case, it would seem unlikely that Poland would make him follow in the footsteps of Clementis of Czechoslovakia.
One can never tell, however, and the mere fact that some of his colleagues in the U.N. suspect this might be the case, gives one an insight into the feeling that people generally have about the type of government that exists today behind the Iron Curtain.