Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago today, January 26, 1960, John F. Kennedy, Senator of Massachusetts and candidate for the Democratic nomination for POTUS, introduced a bill which would have provided insurance for older citizens against increasing health care costs.
Senator Kennedy introduced his bill on the floor of the United States Senate with these words...
"I introduce...a bill to amend the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code so as to provide insurance for our older citizens."
The Senator went on to point out that life expectancy had increased dramatically since the turn of the century resulting in a greater percentage of the population over the age of 65.
"It is obvious that the later years of too many of our citizens will be attended by hardship (at the) time of life when the need for health care rises sharply."
JFK said that medical care costs were up 52% and hospital care costs were up 110%.
Senator Kennedy said...
"...the treatment of its older citizens is said...to be one of the basic tests of how civilized a society or nation has become. (This) bill...should help us pass that test."
Addressing the issue of how the proposed program would be financed, JFK said...
"The program will be financed on the basis of sound insurance principals under which the beneficiaries of the program will pay for it."
Under the Kennedy bill, seniors would receive 90 days of health care annually as well as 120 days of nursing care in addition to other benefits.
Senator Kennedy acknowledged that his proposed health care program for seniors, like all such programs, was dependent upon "all persons and all ages" to be enrolled so that premiums could be paid over the many years of "youthful good health."
"For Release to PM Newspapers of Tuesday," January 26, 1960, Office of Senator John F. Kennedy, www.jfklibrary.org/