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The Mary Lasker Papers

Letter from Edward M. Kennedy to Mary Lasker pdf (89,108 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Edward M. Kennedy to Mary Lasker
President John F. Kennedy reportedly told his brother, who in the early 1970s became a leader in Congress on health care and medical research: "Have lunch with medical school professors, have dinner with Nobel Prize winners, but if you really want to know about what needs to be done in medical research in America, have a talk with Mary Lasker."
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1 (89,108 Bytes)
1970-04-15 (April 15, 1970)
Kennedy, Edward M.
United States Senate
Lasker, Mary
Original Repository: Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Mary Lasker Papers
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Health Care Reform
Exhibit Category:
From Bench to Bedside: Mary Lasker and the Drive for "Payoff" from Medical Research
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Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Series I
SubSeries: Cataloged Correspondence
Folder: Kennedy, Edward
April 15, 1970
Dear Miss Lasker:
Thank you very much for your recent correspondence. As a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Health, I am deeply concerned about our current health crisis, and your comments and suggestions will be of assistance in developing constructive legislative programs.
Today's high medical costs -- such as physicians' fees, hospital charges and drugs -- are symptomatic of the more general crisis throughout our nation's health care system. The essential problem is that the organization, delivery and financing of health services have simply not kept pace with advances in medical science. Each of our major health programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, must be reviewed on a continuing basis to assure that they are efficient and truly responsive to the needs of our people.
I feel that the federal government has both the obligation and the opportunity to provide leadership in developing solutions to these problems. At the very least, Congress should restore the severe budget cuts proposed by the Administration in funds for Federal health programs, especially in crucial areas like medical research and health manpower. Congress should also establish a National Health Council to set goals for a national policy, and to identify gaps, overlaps and inefficiency in government-financed health programs. In addition, Congress should provide for greater utilization and availability of health facilities, including the development of alternative facilities to costly in-hospital care. Finally, I believe that we should establish a comprehensive national health insurance program capable of bringing high-quality medical care to all persons in the nation.
Last December, I dealt more fully with many of these issues in the course of an address I delivered as part of the Lowell Lecture Series in Boston. I am enclosing a copy of my remarks, and I hope you will find them of interest. Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to write me on this important subject.
Edward M. Kennedy
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