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Senator COUZENS. No; there are certain posts in addition to the department. There are certain American Legion posts. I mean, the posts are all split up.
Mr. Taylor. No; not split up. Here is the way that works:
We have over 12,000 posts in the American Legion, and we exercise our best efforts to keep them fully informed; but posts of the American Legion are pretty much like small political groups and gatherings in cities and States. They have their ambitious spokesmen, and those individuals come around to the post with a proposal which at least makes them popular, and they explain the matter to a post. Other members of the post sitting there know nothing about it; and the splendid orator explains what a grand benefit this is, and he gets the post to go on record for what he says. Now, just as soon as they find out that what they have done is contrary to the national mandate of the organization, they are off it.
Senator Couzens. But they do not repeal the resolution.
Mr. Taylor. Sometimes I suppose they do that; but these are just a lot of boys, 25 and 30 years of age, who are anxious to get all they can get, I guess, as far as adjusted compensation is concerned; but I want to talk to you about that.
Senator COUZENS. I am just anxious because this legislation is supposed to be passed in the interest of the veterans
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, sir. Senator COUZENS. And I want to know as nearly as I can just what the views of the veterans are before I take any action on some of these matters.
Mr. Taylor. Yes, sir. Well, we try in the best manner that we can to secure, at our national conventions, the composite expression of the veterans of the United States. The fellows who come down there are enthusiastic, interested, intelligent men on this subject, men who have spent a lifetime working for it, and we have to stand by what they say.
Senator COUZENS. Yes; but as a matter of fact those who attend these conventions are not usually the disabled
Mr. TAYLOR. Oh, yes, they are.
Senator COUZENS. Because they are in hospitals and can not attend the conventions.
Mr. TAYLOR. Oh, every hospital in the United States sends its delegates to the American Legion conventions.
Senator COUZENS. Yes; but the delegate does not know the attitude of all the members in the hospital; does he?
Mr. Taylor. He is sleeping on a bed right there with them. You would be surprised to find how active these fellows are.
Senator COUZENS. I am looking for the facts; that is all.
Senator BARKLEY. I have had a number of telegrams from American Legion posts in Kentucky urging support of the Rankin bill. It seems that this bill as it passed the House was originally known as the Rankin bill, but it was amended pretty radically on the floor of the House. Those who have wired me about it have wired urging support of the Rankin bill. Do they know what the Rankin bill is, or the difference between it and the Johnson bill?
Mr. Taylor. No; they do not.
Senator BARKLEY. By what authority do they assume to speak for the Legion in that regard?
Mr. TAYLOR. They do not speak for the Legion. They just speak for themselves.
Senator BARKLEY. They sign themselves “Adjutant” or “Post.” Does that mean that any action has been taken by the post?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes; that does. That means that they have taken some action; and the Rankin bill is a name now. I mean, it has been pretty thoroughly gotten across in the country just what the Rankin amendment means.
Now, I say this to you, Senator: The Rankin amendment is not in the Johnson bill. It is not in it. The Rankin amendment brought up to 1930 certain diseases. That was amended on the floor of the House by Representative Connery, of Massachusetts, who moved, not that the constitutional diseases be brought up to 1930, but that everything in the Johnson bill be brought up to 1930; and the Johnson bill contains the word "disability," so that every disability occurring prior to January 1, 1930, under the Connery amendment is brought up to January 1, 1930, and then, with the Cochran amendment, which prevents any rebuttal testimony being submitted, every disability prior to January 1, 1930, is made not only presumptive but conclusive. So there is no Rankin amendment in this bill.
Senator BARKLEY. I was wondering how it happened. I began to get telegrams, probably the next day after this bill passed the House, referring to it as the Rankin bill; and I wondered what sort of influence from Washington was being brought to bear on these various Legion posts so soon.
Mr. TAYLOR. None; none at all from the Legion.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. The Veterans of Foreign Wars have communicated a good deal about the Rankin bill. Mr. TAYLOR. Yes; the Rankin bill is a name.
That is what it is; it is the name of a piece of legislation.
Senator BINGHAM. Is not this true, Colonel Taylor: That the bill as it came to us from the House, which will cost anywhere from $200,000,000 to $400,000,000 annually, according to various estimates ($200,000,000 being the least and $400,000,000 being admittedly its possible cost), will benefit a very large number of people who, of course, would get no benefit under the Legion bill, and those people and their friends naturally are anxious that that bill should pass the Senate?
Mr. TAYLOR. Certainly.
Senator BINGHAM. And they have stirred up people in Connecticut; they have stirred up various organizations there that wire me, as they evidently have Senator Barkley of Kentucky.
Mr. TAYLOR. And every other Senator.
Senator BINGHAM. And every other Senator; and the posts, acting under the influence of sympathy for these individuals whom they know, who would benefit by this bill, have taken action out of the goodness of their hearts.
Mr. Taylor. Some of them have, sir.
Senator Bingham. Out of sympathy, desiring to see them get all they can.
Mr. Taylor. Certainly; that is a natural thing.
Senator BINGHAM. Whereas what you represent, as I understand, is the considered action of the American Legion over a period of years, with its organization extending into the various States and departments and posts who have considered these and many other proposals, and have, in their convention, after the matter has been fully thrashed out, decided what it is in the best interest of all the veterans to ask for?
Mr. TAYLOR. You are exactly right.
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes; you are exactly right, with one further remark, and that is that while this entire matter was before the House we had our national rehabilitation committee, composed of all of our liaison men and everybody that is interested in this problem so far as the Legion is concerned, and people outside of the Legion, meet here in Washington. They met here for three or four days, and covered every subject affecting the disabled man. This extended over a long period of time. Did they approve it? They did not. They approved the action that had been taken by the Legion convention
Now, Mr. Chairman, what has been brought out here of course is. perfectly correct, that there are a great many dissatisfied disabled, uncompensated veterans in hospitals. Here is a man who does not draw compensation suffering from tuberculosis, I might say, and on the bed beside him is some other man who draws compensation for the same disease.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. One being able to prove service connection, and the other not?
Mr. Taylor. Yes; or one coming prior to January 1, 1925, and thereby being presumed to be connected with the service.
Senator BINGHAM. Or the other one being one who, under our law, being an ill veteran and needing hospitalization, takes advantage of a vacant bed in the hospital, and gets free hospitalization.
Mr. Taylor. That is what I want to touch on exactly—the question of dependency compensation for those nonservice-connected men in hospitals.
Senator WALSH of Massachuestts. Will you refer to that by section?
Mr. TAYLOR. Section 202 (10).
Mr. TAYLOR. Last year, 89,000 nonservice-connected cases went through hospitals. Right now, 45 per cent of the 30,000 are nonservice connected; but when this committee, at the same time that it fixed that date of January 1, 1925, fixed hospitalization for both service-connected and nonservice-connected cases, and made certain types of diseases mandatory for hospitalization, and, relative to the others, said that if the director has beds they can be hospitalized, this committee recognized two things: First of all, it recognized need; and, second, it recognized giving the benefit of the doubt to the veteran.
We think this hospitalization for nonservice-connected cases is a splendid idea. Yesterday, or the last time the director testified, he said that he looked upon it as a step in the direction of pensions. We do not. We think, as a matter of fact, it is a step against pensions.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. He did not say that as to the hospitalization alone.
Mr. TAYLOR. No; I am talking about the dependency compensation for 202 (10) men. He thought it was a step toward pensions,
Pensions are a permanent thing. I think we will all admit that. A man who gets a pension is put on a permanent roll. This dependency compensation is a temporary thing. It starts one month after the man goes in the hospital, provided his income is less than $1,000, and it continues for two months after he is discharged from the hospital. The reason for that is, if he is in such a financial condition that he requires some compensation for his dependents, that immediately upon getting out of a hospital he would not be able to get back on his feet and work again; and, besides that, it takes the Veterans' Bureau two months to get the thing straightened out. This compensation is the same compensation that is paid to the dependents of a man who has been killed—$30 a month for the wife, $10 for the first child, and $5 for the second. The director says it will cost about $4,000,000.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. But in the case of the man who is killed, Mr. Taylor, the wife has to show service-connection in order to get it.
Mr. Taylor. Certainly; no man who died of a nonservice-connected disability would draw any compensation. You brought that out the other day. That is correct; but I do not think this should be confused with that, Senator.
This dependency compensation is to enable these men to go into hospitals—these men who can not afford to do it. It is to take this man we are talking about—this discontented man, who is drawing no compensation while some one beside him draws compensation-it is to take that discontented man and give him a peaceful frame of mind, to let him know that his family are being taken care of while he is in the hospital, and that will hurry his cure, and get him through the hospital and get him out and on his way again.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. Have you thought of the difficulty in doing justice by that large class of men who are suffering with disease that is not connected with the service, who stay at home, do not go to a hospital, who call in a doctor and are treated in their own homes, or who struggle along to work when they really ought to go to a hospital? Is it not an injustice to that group of veterans to deprive their wives and families of this compensation while the man who goes to the hospital gets it?
Mr. TAYLOR. Are you saying that, Senator, because there is lack of beds for them?
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. Partly because of lack of beds, and partly because of desire to remain at home, and objection to going to a hospital, and trying to be able to carry on somewhat, although they are really incapacitated.
Mr. TAYLOR. The point you bring out, then, is this: If the dependents of a man who is in the hospital draw compensation, why do not the dependents of a man who is not in the hospital draw compensation?
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. A man who is ill.
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes. Our answer is, first of all, that the man should go to the hospital,
The CHAIRMAN. That is the proper place for him.
Mr. TAYLOR. Second, it is no answer that there are no hospital beds for him. We have been pleading with Congress for years to construct hospitals.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. But you have not got them now.
Mr. TAYLOR. Certainly we have not; and we believe that the best way to prevent pensions from coming into existence and we are interested in preventing pension legislation from coming into existence-is to give these men hospitalization, give them the benefit of the doubt, and give their dependents something to go along on for the few months that they are in the hospital, and get them on their way again. Eighty-nine thousand men in hospitals during a year shows that the men are in the hospital on an average of three months. They would probably get four months' compensation.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. What number of men are now deprived of hospitalization under the provision of law that permits hospitalization to veterans who do not show service connection?
Mr. TAYLOR. The Director said the other day 3,500.
Senator Walsh of Massachusetts. Three thousand five hundred are waiting?
Mr. TAYLOR. I think there are more than that, myself.
General Hines. Of service-connected cases we have practically none. If we have not beds for them, we have authority to put them in a contract institution. We receive right along, from all our regional offices, reports of men who apply for hospitalization. We have approximately, of the non-service group awaiting hospitalization, 3,500 men.
The CHAIRMAN. All of them nonservice?
General Hines. Nonservice. The present hospital load, speaking in round numbers, is approximately 30,000. Forty-four per cent of those men are noncompensable cases.
I have here a very interesting chart that shows that graphically, probably much quicker than I can explain it to you, giving by hospitals the bed capacity, the number of patients in those hospitals as of April 1, 1930, divided between nonservice and service-connected cases, and the number of vacant beds. Practically that same information is shown here by the bars, the service-connected cases being the dark bars, and the nonservice-connected cases being the green bars, the white bars showing the nonservice-connected cases and the
Senator WATSON. Why are those dark bars so much farther extended below there?
General HINES. Wherever you see a dark bar that runs close to the total capacity, you can rest assured without looking for the name that that is a hospital for mental or nervous disability, because there is a smaller percentage of men in those hospitals. On the other hand, wherever you see a situation such as represented there, you can nearly always rest assured, without looking at the name, that it is a general hospital, where the majority of the patients are 202 (10) cases, or nonservice. That particular one happens to be our large hospital in Chicago, at Maywood, with a total capacity of 1,007 beds; and 630 of the 962 patients that were in that hospital on that date were noncompensable cases.
Senator BINGHAM. General, if it were known that there were more beds available for the nonservice-connected cases, would not the number of applicants, which you state is now 3,500, go up very rapidly?