President Eisenhower Address at Al Smith Dinner – October 21, 1954 – Waldorf-Astoria Hotel – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Another installment of Past Daily’s occasional series “Presidents Being Presidential”. Here is an address by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, made during the occasion of the 10th annual Memorial Dinner for Alfred E. Smith. The Subject was Human Rights And Medical Care.
Here’s a text excerpt of the complete speech:
President Eisenhower:”In recent months, much that is new has already been done.
Newly passed by Congress is a 3-year $180 million program to build diagnostic and treatment centers, hospitals for the chronically ill and impaired, nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. Through this program, which supplements other funds for general hospital construction, we at last recognize the growing proportion of aged persons in our population and the resulting increases in chronic illnesses.
Newly passed legislation provides more generous tax treatment of some 8,500,000 individuals and families with heavy medical, dental or hospital bills, saving them some $80 million a year in taxes. This new law also liberalizes the tax treatment of sickness or accident benefits.
Newly passed by Congress is a major expansion of Federal-State rehabilitation services to restore disabled people to useful, productive lives–a program of tremendous humanitarian importance. With the cooperation of those concerned in private groups and on all levels of government we expect that in 5 years we will have progressed from the rehabilitation program of about 55,000 persons annually in this program to some 200,000 a year. Our goal is to afford opportunity for rehabilitation to every American who is disabled and can be restored to a useful, self-supporting life.
There is expansion, too, in the crucial field of health research–an intensification of direct governmental research in cancer, blindness, and neurological diseases, and many other ills–all this at the National Institutes of Health. Of special importance to every worker was the opening in Cincinnati this year of the new Taft Sanitary Engineering Center to augment research in environmental and occupational health hazards.
And recent amendments to food and related laws assure better protection of the health of consumers who each year make purchases of $50 billion in this field.
Finally, there was the proposal to encourage the growth and improvement of voluntary health insurance.
This was not passed, but by its passage, millions would have had the opportunity–out of their own provident thrift–to increase their protection against the cost of sickness. In this way we would help ease the catastrophic shock of illness and injury.”
Here’s the complete address, as it was given on October 21, 1954 at the 10th Anniversary Al Smith Memorial Dinner at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.