« PreviousContinue »
Dr. Young. To the best of my recollection, they are. I saw no point of difference.
The CHAIRMAN. I asked him a number of questions that I was trying to avoid having to ask you in order to expedite things, particularly with reference to the contention that these services or functions are so important that they ought to have representation at the Cabinet level, and the question arose whether under this plan, where it is contended by the sponsors of the plan that after all, Public Health Service is still autonomous and has its independence because the head of that service is still charged with the duty of carrying out statutory directions, and so forth, and what I am trying to determine is, do you feel that the Secretary of the new Department when participating in the deliberations of Cabinet problems would actually speak for and represent the views of the head of the medical services or, if they might be his own views as contrary to the views of the head of the medical services? In other words, I am trying to determine whether you think you actually would have a voice or would not have a voice in Cabinet proceedings.
Dr. Young. It is my opinion that the proposed Department would be so heavily weighted toward social security primarily and the functions of education secondarily, that health would receive very little emphasis.
It further states in Reorganization Plan No. 27 that the Surgeon General shall be the head of the Public Health Service, and shall perform such duties concerning health as may be required by law or as the Secretary may prescribe pursuant to law. It is apparent to me that the principal opinions of the Secretary might supersede those of the Surgeon General.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask you this one other question, then: Do you favor, as has been testified by the representatives of the American Medical Association, and also the American Dental Association this morning, first, a separate department for health, and, secondly, until that becomes feasible and can be attained, an independent agency of health?
Dr. Young. We would very much prefer and have recommended a Department of Health. An agency which might be separated from the other functions presently proposed would be preferable but certainly not ideal.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you prefer that to the present organization and set-up in the social security? An independent agency?
Dr. Young. The association has taken no action on that question. We have merely recommended an independent Department of Health.
The CHAIRMAN. So your association has taken no action with reference to that?
Dr. YOUNG. That is true.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Miles D. Kennedy is the next witness. Mr. Kennedy, will you come up, please, and identify yourself for the record?
STATEMENT OF MILES D. KENNEDY, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL LEG
ISLATIVE COMMISSION, THE AMERICAN LEGION, WASHINGTON, D. c.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. Chairman, my name is Miles D. Kennedy and I am legislative director for the national organization of the American Legion, and with local offices at 734 Fifteenth Street NW., Washington, D. C.
The CHAIRMAN. You are speaking for the American Legion?
Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, in view of the time element I am perfectly willing to let the record stand on the statement I filed with the clerk of the committee yesterday afternoon if it is agreeable with the committee. We have nothing to add to that statement, and if you have any questions, I will be glad to answer them.
The CHAIRMAN. I have your statement. We shall be glad to make that a part of the record.
(The statement referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF Miles D. KENNEDY, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE
COMMISSION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the American Legion deeply appreciates the opportunity of being heard on Reorganization Plan No. 27 of 1950.
At the 1938 National Convention at Los Angeles, Calif., our organization adopted Resolution No. 98 which reaffirmed its stand that the Veterans' Administration should be and remain an independent Federal agency.
A true copy of said resolution is annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference thereto. The experience of our service officers and members interested in helping disabled veterans, dependents of veterans, and others, for whom Congress has provided certain benefits, all during the interim, has established that the best service for these folks can be extended by such a single and unified agency.
The Federal Security Agency is another independent Government department which has also been assigned the administration of certain laws beneficial to the general public. Its elevation to the status of a Cabinet department would increase its powers of attraction or absorption in respect to other agencies such as the Veterans' Administration, some of whose functions might be transferred to the new Cabinet department. We regard such a move as a definite possibility because of the statement made by the President in his budget message for 1951,
In referring to veterans' services and benefits he said: "I again urge that in considering new or additional aids for veterans without service disabilities, the Congress judge their necessity not merely from the standpoint of military service, but also on the basis of benefits under the general social security, health, and education programs available to all the people, including veterans. Our objective should be to make our social-security system more comprehensive in coverage and more adequate, so that it will provide the basic protection needed by all citizens. We should provide through the veterans' programs only for the special and unique needs of veterans arising directly from military service.
"I am sure that our veterans are willing to share with other citizens in the benefits which can be gained for all through a positive program of economic and social advancement. They recognize that their best interest is inseparable from the best interest of the Nation. For a democratic Nation like ours can thrive only as all its citizens-veterans and nonveterans alike-are enabled through fair and equal opportunities to live as self-respecting, self-reliant men and women in a free and prosperous country.'
Dismemberment of the Veterans’ Administration and the assignment of many of its functions to other agencies will be the result if recommendations Nos. 9, entitled "Veterans' Affairs”; 14, entitled “Department of the Interior”; and 16 entitled “Medical Activities”, of the Hoover Commission are adopted. The American Legion has constructively put forth positive reasons that such dismemberment will cause more confusion and less efficiency than at present. Another Presidential commission in 1921, and Ex-President Hoover in 1929, are both on
record to the effect that a single independent agency handling veterans' affairs would be the most efficient. We hold to that principle.
Certainly the record of the American Legion shows where it stands with reference to further development of programs for health, education, and security for the people of this country. We are supporters and advocates of these programs within the jurisdiction of the Federal Security Agency.
However, we oppose the Reorganization Plan 27 of 1950 because: First, it increases the political importance of the agency dealing with the health, education, and security of our people without augmenting or improving the value of those programs; second, it places this agency where it can more readily absorb certain functions and benefits relating to the veterans of this country as set forth in the Presidential budget message for 1951, and, third, the continued independence and improvement of the Veterans' Administration as a single agency is inherent to the fullest and most expeditious service to veterans and dependents of veterans,
The American Legion is opposed to any plan that will weaken or tend to destroy the Veterans' Administration. It is our opinion that if Reorganization Plan No. 27 of 1950 were enacted into law it would be a step toward the curtailment of benefits to which veterans now are legally entitled.
Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, we respectfully request your committee to disapprove Reorganization Plan No. 27 of 1950.
RESOLUTION 98 of Los ANGELES, CALIF., 1938 NATIONAL CONVENTION
Whereas it is the belief of the committee that the Veterans' Administration should remain an independent agency; and
Whereas the combining of Veterans' Administration activities with those of other Government agencies doubtless will result in less effective service to the disabled; and
Whereas great inconvenience and even hardship may result through chaos and uncertainty incident to the combining of Veterans' Administration activities with other Government functions; and
Whereas it is the desire of our organization to protect the disabled and to avoid any possibility of thier suffering unnecessary hardships: Be it therefore
Resolved, That the American Legion in twentieth annual national convention assembled in Los Angeles, September 19, 20, 21, and 22, 1938, strenuously oppose any plan that would take away from the Veterans' Administration the independence it now enjoys or any move that would place any of its hospitals or facilities under the jurisdiction of any other Government department.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you just briefly state for our information at the moment, what the position is of the American Legion with reference to this plan?
Mr. KENNEDY. Briefly, Mr. Chairman, our organization is opposed to the plan and we are in favor of the resolution to reject the plan for the reasons set forth in our statement. One of them is that we are afraid of a portion of the statement contained in the President's budget message which I have quoted in part at the bottom of page 1 of the statement, especially the latter part of paragraph No. 1, where
We should provide through the veterans' programs only for the special and unique needs of veterans arising directly from military service.
Our other main objections refer to three recommendations of the Hoover Commission, namely, No. 9, which is captioned on the report itself “Veterans’ Affairs”; No. 14, which is captioned “Department of the Interior”; and No. 16, which is captioned "Medical Activities."
I would like you to know, Mr. Chairman, that our organization by no stretch of the imagination is against the Hoover Commission Report in its entirety. Up to date we have only gone on record as opposing two bills that have been actually introduced. One is the United Medical Administration bill, hearings on which have been held by the House committee, on H. R. 5182, and hearings are scheduled to be held next week in the Senate. There the bill is known as S. 2008. That is before Senator Murray, of Montana, and a subcommittee.
I noticed in Mr. Ewing's statement yesterday he made considerable reference to this United Medical Administration, and he may have tried to give the impression, and I don't know what his intention was, that he was opposed to that on the grounds that they did not think it would be adopted in any event. But we are really concerned about it. If they did not intend to try to put that legislation through, I cannot see why they continue to go ahead with these hearings as they are doing. They are scheduled to start next week.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, Mr. Ewing nor the President could not control hearings on bills; that is a matter in the discretion of Congress.
Mr. KENNEDY. Yes, sir, I appreciate that. I just cite that in connection with his testimony before this committee yesterday.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, Mr. Kennedy, if you have any other statement you want to add, you may do so.
Mr. KENNEDY. I have nothing more to add.
The CHAIRMAN. I wanted for the moment to get your position, or the position of the American Legion.
Mr. KENNEDY. Yes. We also feel that this may be another road down the road to socialized medicine if this Cabinet post were created While I have every respect for Mr. Ewing individually, none of us knows who would hold that office and if he were appointed in view of the statements which he has made and which are a matter of record as to his feelings on socialized medicine, we would be somewhat fearful as to what might happen, especially as far as our organization is concerned.
Speaking of the Veterans' Administration, I do not want you to think for one moment that we are carrying any support for the Veterans' Administration, because we have been their severest critic and we intend to be so. We do feel, as we have testified on H. R. 5182, that these defects which exist in the Veterans' Administration can be corrected within the four walls of that Administration without any additional legislation such as proposed in Reorganization Plan No. 27 of 1950.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have any questions, Senator Mundt?
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Kennedy, I take it the American Legion is not only opposed to socialized medicine, but also Federal control of education; is that not correct?
Mr. KENNEDY. We have no definite standing on that, Senator Mundt, at the moment. I cannot speak for the organization, because we have not had any directive issued to our division by the national organization. I do not want to go on record on anything. I am not authorized to speak about at the present time.
Senator Mundt. You said you feared it would increase the political control if there was an office of this kind. You say:
We oppose the Reorganization Plan 27 of 1950 because it increases the political importance of the agency dealing with the health, education, and security of our people.
You have reference then only to the matter of health, and political medicine, rather than education?
Mr. KENNEDY. That is right.
The American Legion is opposed to any plan that will weaken or tend to destroy the Veterans' Administration.
And you follow that with:
It is our opinion that if Reorganization Plan No. 27 of 1950 were enacted into law, it would be a step toward the curtailment of benefits to which veterans now are legally entitled.
Mr. KENNEDY. Yes, sir.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. In other words, you feel very definitely while there may be some inherent defects in your Veterans' Administration and hospitalization and all of those things, that your association administration would much prefer to work them out rather than to take a chance of this type of reorganization plan becoming effective?
Mr. KENNEDY. That is correct.
Senator SCHOEPPEL. What specific benefits are you fearful that might be eliminated if this plan goes through? Could you elaborate very briefly?
Nr. KENNEDY. To do that with any degree of certainty, Senator, I will have to refer to this legislation, which we call the United Medical Administration legislation.
Without going into it rather extensively, I believe it is just another way of trying to get around that, based again on what Mr. Ewing testified, that he did not think that the United Medical Administration legislation which is now before the Congress would go through. Whether he is trying to get around it by another devious method, I don't know. But we are a little fearful of it, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Kennedy.
STATEMENT OF LOUIS C. PAKISER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
AMERICAN VETERANS COMMITTEE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. PAKISER. My name is Louis C. Pakiser. I am executive director of the American Veterans Committee.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the American Veterans Committee strongly favors this Reorganization Plan No. 27 which is designed to create a Department of Health, Education, and Security
The CHAIRMAN. Will you identify your organization a little more fully, the American Veterans Committee?
Mr. PAKISER. The American Veterans Committee, sir, is a national organization whose
membership consists of honorably discharged members of World War II.
At the most recent national convention of AVC held in Chicago last November, the following statement was adopted by a large majority of the delegates:
We recognize the need for and urge the creation of a Federal Department of Public Welfare under a Secretary with Cabinet rank.
In 1949 the President submitted Reorganization Plan No. 1, which would have created a Department of Welfare. Although our convention statement derives from support of that plan, Reorganization Plan No. 27 meets the objections that have been raised to the 1949 plan without eliminating any of its essential features.
We are for this measure because it represents an important forward step in good government. We are for it because it gives a well