Joe Califano: Medicare and Medicaid

I stopped by the Kansas City Public Library this past Wednesday to join the crowd (and crowded it was as I eventually listened from a satellite broadcast venue) turned out to hear Joe Califano talk about President Johnson.  The talk was anecdotal and, not surprisingly, hilarious.

When it came to the Medicare and Medicaid Amendments to the Social Security Act Mr. Califano talked about the signing ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.  He also talked about President Johnson telling President Truman something like  "you are the only person who can understand the satisfaction I feel right now."  That quote resonated but I didn't remember it as a private remark. And, sure enough, here is something like it from President Johnson's public remarks at the signing ceremony, a substantial part of which consists of remarks addressed directly to President Truman:

And just think, Mr. President, because of this document–and the long years of struggle which so many have put into creating it–in this town, and a thousand other towns like it, there are men and women in pain who will now find ease. There are those, alone in suffering who will now hear the sound of some approaching footsteps coming to help. There are those fearing the terrible darkness of despairing poverty–despite their long years of labor and expectation–who will now look up to see the light of hope and realization.

There just can be no satisfaction, nor any act of leadership, that gives greater satisfaction than this.

And perhaps you alone, President Truman, perhaps you alone can fully know just how grateful I am for this day.

If you'd like to read more, you might visit the Truman Library online.



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