March 22, 1979 – On this day, HEW Secretary Joseph Califano would be making a speech later in New York and was expected to unveil President Carter’s long awaited position on National Health Insurance. According to various sources, President Carter, after months of trying to decide what kind of approach to take on National Health Insurance had made his decision. The Administration was planning on asking Congress for limited rather than comprehensive insurance legislation. Mr. Carter was expected to lay out a blueprint for a comprehensive, so-called “cradle-to-grave’ health insurance program, but for now seek a more restricted approach. Not as restricted as a bill introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Russell Long, providing only for protection against “catastrophic” illness or injury. In sampling Congressional opinion, the administration found little inclination to push an expensive comprehensive plan, long advocated by Senator Ted Kennedy and organized Labor. The Carter plan had yet to be spelled out completely with actual legislation being weeks or even months away.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem. It was almost dawn when the Knesset finally did what everyone thought they would do; approve the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty. Twenty-eight unprecedented hours of debate and selling the plan led to the historic vote and just just about every Knesset speaker voiced hopes and doubts about peace – whether it could last and where it might lead. At around 4 a.m. the vote came; a show of hands and not a role call. It was 95 for the peace treaty – 18 against, most of the opposition coming from the right wing of Menachem Begin’s own party. When the vote was over Begin and Defense Minister Moishe Dayan sat stunned, realizing they had just passed their first treaty with an Arab State.
And that’s just a sample of what went on this March 22, 1979 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.