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tv   President Johnson Medicare Phone Calls  CSPAN  July 26, 2015 10:48pm-11:56pm EDT

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announcer: we continue now with our look back 50 years to the 1965 medicare bill. next, we go inside the white house to hear telephone conversations between president lyndon johnson and his aides as well as members of congress. we hear the politics and strategy behind the hill and get a glimpse behind lbj's powers of persuasion. this is about one hour. announcer: we begin with 1964 with a call between lyndon b. johnson and his chief. there are mentions of an afl-cio official and the assistant secretary in the department of health, education, and well there. as the recording of this call begins, he is telling lbj about his tank -- take on medicare
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about wilbur mills. >> mills told me that by the end of this week, he thought he would have something in shape to come down and discuss with you that he could present in the way of a packet that could be of interest. i told him i had read some articles lately that were a little bit disturbing that indicated something that was happening on the medicare and, indeed that, well, you know better than to the attention to those stories, and i said, i agree with you, wilbur. i just wanted to be reassured and he said, you know you cannot read everything you want, and this bill ultimately it has to have the mills stamp on it, and i said well, the president's view is that whenever you want to talk to him, that door is just wide open. he is happy to see you, and he said you just tell him again, as i told you lately last week that
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just as soon as i am ready to sit down and be able to present think to him that i could spell out that would make some sense and that would represent what would be of interest, i went to get a hold of you and make an appointment, and now will more -- wilbur cohen reported it has been no particular new move in the committee, that they are still kicking around a little bit, that mills is edging toward first of all toward the end of last week, he felt that on a contract basis under a medicare program that he wanted to have the private insurance companies bill blue cross, and the labor folks got wind of that, and they went to see mills, and they said that mills decided over the weekend he had felt that over, and it is a little too complex
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and he is back in the position that blue cross begin the chance to handle the contract, but certainly in the medicare ballpark he is feeling his way along very slowly and carefully, and he is manipulating and maneuvering, but he is not putting anything down that cannot be unwound, and i think we just have to have confidence in him to be contacting us by the end of this week for this long-awaited eating, and, you know just long-awaited meeting, and, you know, cohen said there was no hanky-panky. he said some of the strong medicare supporters. of the anxious. one of the guys on the committee talked to me last week and he said i have a feeling everything will work out, but i get nervous because milk does not tell us anything, and that is the way wilbur operates, as you know, and i talked to him almost as of noon time today
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and i would like to get him with a wrap up on the thing and down on it, because i have noticed these tories starting to break out, you know, in different directions and all kinds of interpretation of what is going on out there. so far, i have to say the begins tenses is that mills is going to come out with a social security package that bypasses medicare. that is what i have read. now, mills insists that is not what he intends to do and says, after all, in the final analysis, what does it contain and he said you and i know that my goal is to include a medicare program into it. >> i would like to talk to him about it as soon as he gets where he can and i sure hope he makes no commitments until we can talk about it. >> yes, he promised to be no
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commitment, and i think about pleasantly giving them a call in the morning, just touching base how are you, wilbur, and by the end of this week, he has reached a point where there could the and ultimate price tag on this bill of about $3 billion, i would think, you know overall because they get into the increase in the cash benefits and social security, and i think that would be a tag of 400 million, 500 million, something like that. i told wilbur million, no one fights those things, and as long as it is not to get out of medicare, and he said he is not going to use it for that purpose, but he would like to have his in perimeter on that, imprimateur on that, and then the value of the package is $750 a month. and then they say they could
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make it a single election, and that would be irrevocable, and we would kick that around for a week or so, and my contention was, hell, if it is a 700 package on eighth value, then the person should get five dollars, you know, they should not get an equal amount of cash equal to that, because -- now that is my understanding that that is the role he is traveling. the packaging has in mind is worth on the open market say 750, and that the election they would have at the out that, it would be an irrevocable election, would mean that they chose to take five dollars in cash each month rather than the medicare benefit package and labor follows, and that would be feel that that should be an election and i am sure we can do a hell of a good sales job on something like that anyway. it does not can turn me.
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it does concern me that you give them 750 -- $7.50. they could select between a 7.5 dollar package and a five dollar pill, and they have to make that choice irrevocably, i am sure they have some numbers of the that would go into the insurance program, but that is the area that he has then in, so you can see that he has been getting right into it and some real in-depth discussions. >> increasing the security payments, behind closed doors. half of the committee said no, and they said there has been considerable bipartisan support. this means increase of 6% in retirement rate would now run up for 65. requiring an increase in payroll taxes of 1% each on each
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employee. if they get to where that is getting out, i would like to know what he has in mind. they are asking me questions and i do not know what the hell they are doing. a democratic president does not know what the democratic chairman is doing. >> all right, i will. announcer: lbj and larry o'brien. the two have another call about medicare in 19 four. you will hear references to health education and as this call begins, mr. o'brien is talking about wilbur mills, chair of the house ways and means committee, which is considering the medicare legislation. >> hi, mr. president. be wilbur mills situation has deteriorated. i had wilbur cohen over today,
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and there was no action. suggesting why not vote on the social security bill on the morning. he is going to have the final markup with an increase in benefits, that he would not ask for any boat, and he would put that over to next year, and we could vote medicare, which we lose, or perhaps get that vote entirely, and why don't we try to do something over on the senate side on the social security bill, and went over there. we could see what would happen and now i ask them that they both fell short of a conversation again between you and mills that there was not anything that could happen tomorrow morning except to lose this thing totally.
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the best that would happen is that they would take a formal vote. it would require talking to others to keep them away from demanding a formal vote, because some have been raising hell as it is. at a point where there has to be another conversation. i think that perhaps we ought to do is suggest to mills that perhaps they could postpone the meeting until wednesday, that we talked to the leadership in the morning, that we conceivably can have mills at the leadership breakfast, if you think that is worth a damn, or we arranged to have mills down here. that may lead mills, wilbur
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apparently you're out of steam because you feel you do not have the vote, and if you're right you don't have them amma but what do you think about having the democratic members of the committee get together in one group and let us, you and i wilbur, put the pitch on them, or come out of here with a piece of this will, and we can do that or try to avoid a vote in committee and let them just focus on the social security aspect on this and concentrate on the senate side. mills, conceivably, it could be a reverse situation. he would be in good shape with the ama if he could convince the ama that something strong was what to come out of conference and therefore, he would be the mediator, cutting back, and avoiding them having a debacle in congress. it is a pretty dismal situation as of this moment, and i thought, number one, i should
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report it to you. i am sorry i do not have suggestions that would be meaningful on the productive end of it, but i did want you, if you would advise me, of what you think of this of what we could possibly do at this point. >> i guess the thing is to let him go on. >> yes, that may be the answer. i don't know any way that's one possibility. i don't know whether it's worthwhile. if i could call them i don't think the committees should meet in the morning, these labor fellows are on to this,
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apparently all hell had broken loose and things that fallen apart. i anticipated that's what he was calling about. i did want to alert you to it. i am inclined at this point to ask mills of you would consider not having the committee meet in the morning and try and grab another 24 hours. i don't know were lightning will strike and it would have to be a miracle at this point to pull something off, and tried to make sure no formal vote would be taken in the committee. i don't know whether it's worth getting into that involvement or
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say how about just giving the vote in the morning. i don't know what 24 hours is going to bring us. >> i don't see much to be gained by 24 hours. you'd think that will vote on medicare and the committee. >> can you ask him if -- >> i think i could ask him and he would say sure, i will be willing to cooperate with you. as they say, if you have to do that anyway just take that chance that people will misinterpret it i don't know it's a little tricky and i just
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want to advise you that things are in a lousy state at the moment, and i don't have an answer to it. i think maybe the next step is, why don't all start talking about the conversation and we have the rest of the night until 10:00 in the morning before that committee is actually called. he has an ounce in the press that the vote will be taken in the morning on this medicare. >> talk to your best friend on the committee and tried to avoid it if you can. as for another day to try to tell them what you can do so if he is getting the encouragement that you can add it on in the senate. >> he's just saying you must have the most -- the votes to be added on the senate.
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and teddy kennedy will not be voting anymore so that's to vote you have to worry about. i don't see daylight where mills is testing that he will be hopeful and the conference assuming that you will tack it on the senate. if knowles would say in conference i will play ball totally, to get a good piece of this thing, except it and then run it through the house, that's one thing. but he said what i'm afraid it's getting at is that at the point of conference we could be can best become convincing that this thing was in the process of full settlement, and then mills moves in on behalf of the ama and he's the guy cutting back and he's the hero with the ama, and at the same time he's a big help to
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us, it's a pretty tricky operation. why don't i not burden you further at this point in let me get a feel of -- just see what in gods name we might come up with during the evening. >> president johnson and larry o'brien on june 22, 1964. as our special program continues, here's part of an august 1, 1964 call with florida democratic senator george smathers. he's a member of the senate finance committee that will start hearings on medicare. 1954 is also presidential election year. senator smathers is talking about the political implications of medicare with mention of the republican nominee, arizona senator barry goldwater. >> if it's held up and defeated
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in the senate by will gives at the last mimic -- last minute, then you're off the hook. and it's a lot better issue because if they find out i campaigned on this in 1962, if they find out what they're not going to get under social security they're not going to get free hospitalization, which you have to pay $90 to start with every time, somebody is taking them to the cleaners. i think it's a hell of a lot better issue that it is a fact on the book, and i think we just ought to keep it that way because i don't think you're going to come out with it anyway.
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and what i'm trying to suggest discreetly is, when i would just somehow blame this on the republicans for not even having social security increases passed. then we got to be careful in past social security and not increase it to the point where you block out in the future the medical care program. russell is wild. we can't just come in there because -- without destroying --
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you call me back on that and i will go to work on it. if they have to have a canal or whatever, we will do it. this is one vote i cannot lose. charlie told every republican that if you vote against me, that i will eliminate you. i've got about 29, like rogers from my own state. some of them have taken walks for me. some of them have gone off. you just see what they got to have and let's get it, but let's get those two votes. call me back now. >> president johnson and george smathers on august 1, 1964 as we continue our program of lbj calls on medicare which the
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president signed into law july 30, 1965. on september 2, 1964, lbj and albert gore senior, father of the future senator and vice president, talk about the possible compromises for medicare. this includes jacob javits of new york, and also wilbur collins. sen. gore: you've got to give people an excuse to do what they don't want to do. he wants us to accept, even in a modified form, this provision in the bill which he and the republicans introduced, to
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provide an association of insurance companies to write policies for the specific purposes of this bill. the treasury department has some doubts about it because it provides a tax exemption. justice has doubts about it because of provides exemptions of added trust, but i think for the purposes of providing old age health care through private insurance, we could afford to do it if adequate supervision as to rates and benefits is provided. javits came to me yesterday afternoon and said he is going to support it anyway, whether we except it or not, but he says
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that margaret smith would vote for it if we would except this. now i talked to mike about it, and he said whatever we decided. i talked to clint, and he was not inclined to be favorable to it. i talked to wilbur, a technician in this deal, and he says that if we want it, he can redraft it so as to meet the objections of treasury and justice, but i contacted wilbur and he said someone in the white house that you didn't want -- i'm telling you that this is something that would be necessary. pres. johnson: that is the first i've heard of it.
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sen. gore: the white house. who he is talking to in the white house, i don't know. pres. johnson: i don't know either. i would be guided by what y'all think should be done. i think it would be a mistake. sen. gore: by all means. pres. johnson: i would be inclined to explore it. if you really needed them to help you, they tell me you have a two vote margin on our side. you have any feeling on that? sen. gore: well, i think we have a minimum of two votes, but mr. president, they spend more money on lobbying than any outfit. pres. johnson: we are counting on two people who may be gone. you know who those two are? walters is one of them.
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they say that him and mr. hill always vote on anything pro-doctor. they are counting on his being gone. sen. gore: is there any way on earth to get him? pres. johnson: if his vote had to be there, but i don't know -- in the old days, i would've had him back funeral or no funeral. sen. gore: and goldwater has dramatized it. pres. johnson: that's right. sen. gore: if we get licked on this, it's going to be bad. clint will do what you want him to do.
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this came about -- i got into leadership with this thing because he was sick in the hospital and i thought the issue had to be pressed. when he came back, i expected him to take over, but clint is not well. he requested that i continue and present the amendment. somebody had to speak for three and a half hours otherwise it was going to be read out. i stepped in and did it. will you assign somebody to look at this amendment? if you can say to clint that this is ok with you, i think it will give us maybe two votes over there. pres. johnson: what you better do if you're going to do something like that is let me get mike on it and you better seek his advice on it. you might say, i'm going to call for the two of us and ask what their opinion is because i sure
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don't want the candidate to say the president called up and modified it up and chew away our victory by compromise. i could do that unless the request came from clint, because he might feel i moderated his proposal. you follow me? sen. gore: yeah. pres. johnson: i would say that he is fond of him and find out what his opinion is and try to see if our opinion would change. sen. gore: i will just go to clint's office and say i have this call, what do you think we are to do about it. pres. johnson: if you agree with me, clint, i'm going to get him and wilbur going and i'm sure that the president will agree to anything that we agree to. i know he has great respect for
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you clint and feeling towards me, and i know he will go a long. you stand for just about everything that i do, so you just get on it. i will get mike feldman on it. just don't take any chances. be mighty careful. sen. gore: could you possibly call herbert walters? let me see if he's going to be here. pres. johnson: they tell me he's not. sen. gore: he never understood this issue. he happened to be there when i made my speech the other day. he didn't realize the issue.
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the program takes care of the very poor. this bill will provide prepaid health care for the great body of our self-supporting proud people who remain so even after 65. anyway, i will do that. pres. johnson: is he committed to the doctors? sen. gore: i'm afraid he is, but he's happy to be away, and if i find out he will not be away -- pres. johnson: ok. >> president johnson and albert gore senior talking about medicare on september 2, 1964. later that day, lbj urges another democratic senator to support medicare. with carl layton of arizona.
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lbj mentions presidential rival in arizona republican senator barry goldwater. pres. johnson: i see goldwater is flying back. is that going to be a close vote? he says he is flying back from arizona. don't you let him beat us, carl. sen. hayden: you waited for us didn't you? pres. johnson: once you do that today? sen. hayden: i might. pres. johnson: do that. we can't lose this one. they've got to have these old people. the polls show that is the most population we got. sen. hayden: well -- pres. johnson: wait and see. if we don't need you, do what you have to. if we'd do need you, don't let us lose it. sen. hayden: i would hate to have that happen.
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pres. johnson: do like you did before. wait and see. if we don't have to have you, we don't. we hope we don't. sen. hayden: all right. we will see. >> president lyndon johnson and carl hayden talking about medicare legislation on september 2, 1964. later that day, the senate comes up with a tie vote on medicare. in this call, lbj and meyer feldman talk about how to break that tie. you'll hear mention of edward kennedy and mike mulroney and senate majority whip uber humphrey. meyer feldman: we have to get either --
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luther hodges has called jordan and jordan is uncertain. he won't give us a commitment. perhaps if you called him or jordan, this would convince them to give us what we need. pres. johnson: tell him if he thinks i ought to, call me. i don't want to do it unless i have to. he just told me he's all right. myer feldman: all right. >> president johnson and meyer feldman on how to deal with the tie vote on medicare in the senate. september 2, 1964. later that day, the senate approves the medicare amendment to social security by a vote of 49-44. on september 3, lbj and larry o'brien talk about the next steps for the measure.
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and wilbur mills. pres. johnson: albert called me, but by the time i returned the call, they said they were with him. what they want to do is they say if it goes to conference, it will never come out of conference. they can get a vote to instruct the conferees to accept the amendment. he says he has 250 people against that. i don't believe he is wrong. that would be one vote. the other would be to refuse.
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they are going to decide what to do. my all-time guess would be they'll either vote up or down if we have the votes, which i doubt. just let the house defeated and go to the country with that. larry o'brian: i talked to hale boggs earlier today on this. we have the labor people in this morning and cranked up the senior citizens yesterday. putting it hard on the labor people, they want to take the senate bill and do all these things and you finally say, ok how many votes do have? your people are the ones who are supposed to be able to handle republicans. do you have 40 republicans? they don't have 40 republicans. they can't even count 20 republicans. we probably have about 165 democrats. they said, what are you doing. there are only two votes in the
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conference for us. what do you have in mind? for christ's sake, is this a bill that winds up with goldwater and mills opposing this administration? are you going to -- i know you don't have any troops -- but you certainly could make an interesting conference out of it. i talked to mills yesterday, what the hell, we realize that we can't get the senate bill adapted. we will get licked on that too. the only judgment i can make at this point is mills will certainly try every device he can to get an agreement and a conference that would include boggs -- as reluctant as he might be to come out with a conference report.
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jesus, he starts -- pres. johnson: my thought would be to talk to them as soon as they are free and i will talk to you -- if we could get mills to agree, that would be fine. i will try to instruct the conferees. larry o'brian: at the moment, i share that view. with these stories around the country today, we have something
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going on this damn thing. god almighty, i hate to see that leadership join with mills in some type of wrap up that screws us quickly. pres. johnson: does it screw us -- i believe the senate congress, we will never get it out with the votes we have. larry o'brian: we don't have the votes in conference. pres. johnson: what would screw us and what would not? larry o'brian: we can vote up or down, but i do think we can spotlight the country on this thing by giving us a little time. this damn congress will be here in the week of the 15th anyway. my view is that this thing can get really heated up, and my view of the thing is -- well let's say i know you're tied up now. if you are right, i will get back to you and we will talk later this afternoon. >> on september 3, 1964, president johnson and larry o'brien in a special program of lbj's calls about medicare which he signed into law, july 30, 1965. on september 14, 1964, larry
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o'brien tells lbj about his conversation with house leaders on what is next up for medicare. larry o'brian: mr. president hale boggs and carl albert called me. they came to the conclusion that the best thing to do on this medicare bill would be to go to conference without instructions. they wanted to get our view on it here. i told him i was not going to disturb you with it, but you had discussed the matter with me and had left it up to me to do what we all thought was best. therefore, i could say to him that their argument made some sense and found it reasonable if they could get those to comment at some point, but he was seriously considering the medicare provision in conference. that they should then withdraw any attempt to have any kind of
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action on it. they were going to contact mccormick and felt he shared their view. they asked me about labor. i told them i knew labor shared their view because miller called this afternoon. in turn, i called miller and told him that he should carry out his responsibilities and talk to the three leaders and tell them what the view of labor was. then, the other aspect was that -- let's see, in talking to mills the other day, mills said, well, i can't see any point in you fellows going forward and the speaker wants to do it, but having a vote on this thing on the previous question, i said i think the point is that there are many republicans that would be positioned finally on medicare.
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he said, how many? i said i spoke and there's probably 30 or so, and i imagine what that speaker has in mind. the speaker talked to jim, but the whole idea was the speaker had in his mind that he could ultimately convince jim to vote on a roll tomorrow. pres. johnson: wait a second. i've got another phone call. hello? myer feldman: i won't pursue this. i know you're busy. larry o'brian: the leadership came to this conclusion. they feel there is some merit in putting the pressure on mills as best they could so that they get a firm agreement. it will be discussed in depth, and conference that labor is notifying the leadership directly that they share the
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view and the leadership and asked me what the white house position was. i said i would take it on my own because i did not -- i was not in a position to consult with you further at this point. i did not feel there was any need of having a big discussion involving you directly -- why didn't they just leave it, that they had talked to me and i am telling them whether i'm right or wrong, taking the responsibility to agree with them and they can in their conversations with king say they talked with me and agreed with the leadership. pres. johnson: ok. >> president johnson and larry o'brien talking about medicare on september 14, 1964. on september 24, as the committee works to resolve the differences, lbj gets a call from russell long.
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he's also a member of the senate finance committee. you'll hear mention of harry byrd and our gore senior and clinton anderson. sen. long: mr. president? pres. johnson: they told me y'all broke up this afternoon. did you make any progress? i don't like the way things are going. sen. long: i was just thinking we would settle this medicare thing and get it behind us. i've been out campaigning for votes. i think i have a majority. i left that thing with the understanding that -- i can't leave my proxy with him.
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so i can only be there when the vote occurs. now wilbur said to me this morning that he wasn't planning to take anything. he said you have to divorce it from social security or it can't be considered. i wish you had talked to clinton anderson. i figured that if worse comes to worse -- i'm in a hell of a spot there. harry byrd wants to beat this thing. as you know, i love the guy. i am tied to him. i'll try to be true to him and
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that sort of thing. i'm hanging on for it as a senate conference member. i think we are in trouble. wilbur has not shown his hand yet. he is getting ready to say -- it can't be done. that being the case, i suggest settling for the rest of this bill and come back to this medicare business next year. i can vote against it two or three times. you said, make them vote on it.
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i approached wilbur with that. he said he wouldn't do that. so, i think -- pres. johnson: how can i make an issue in the house if i can't get a vote on it? sen. long: the house has to act first. he takes the conference report back. i ought to sign it, what we can get. gore and anderson should refuse to sign. the house people -- see, the senate is going to oppose this conference report.
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the question comes in the house on the conference report. i think somebody should get up and say we think in good conscience we should have taken at least some part of what the senate had, you see? we think there should -- medicare program. we want more conference. we want to go back and -- and i'm against that conference report. you would -- my frustrating efforts. the one time i did get back to conference -- and we beat the conference report. i would say that you can get a
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vote on it. when they bring it back to the house and bring that thing up, you can say, wait a minute, i think it should have some form of medicare. i think we ought to go on record on this. the only way to do it is to vote against the conference report. pres. johnson: let me talk to clint. i will talk to him later. much obliged. >> president johnson and russell long, a member of the conference committee on the medicare amendment to the social security bill on september 24, 1964. later that day, lbj gets an update from the house majority whip. >> mr. president? pres. johnson: i wanted to talk to you about that social security. >> clint anderson, god bless him, not knowing mills and what a devious guy he is.
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i said to myself, i need to get off the hook. sure enough, he comes back and says he has talked to -- and it may be subject to -- in the meantime, i talked with mccormick and i know we have a rule about a point of order or not. i just told him, well, we are just going to fight the thing out, mr. chairman. you think it's reprehensible to get a rule. i think it's reprehensible for you to act the way you act. we ended -- they are going to draft something, but he's giving us all this baloney about not going to rules committee. this is just a way to get out, that's all. i think if we don't take some
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part of medicare -- i don't think we ought to pass any part of it. pres. johnson: ok. >> president johnson and hale boggs on september 24, 1964. later that day, lbj gets more bad news about the medicare bill with conferee george smathers. >> i find from touching the three basis -- i've talked to them, russell, hale, and somebody else. russell wasn't there today. pres. johnson: he was lobbing on this and i was busy raising $75,000 for florida. i got that fellow we talked about. he is coming in. anyway, did you talk with clint?
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>> no. i'm going to. i was going to call him. pres. johnson: ok, better you talk with him yourself. he told me what happened. i talked with wilbur, and everybody there is under the impression that it looks worse than it has. clint is of the opinion that it -- it should be the best. wilbur, not necessarily. byrd is against any of it. the house people would like for us to pass the bill on the ground they would foreclose passage of medicare.
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i have not come to any conclusion about what is best for you. i have a feeling that clint is right. it looks like now they will be able to recess by saturday night. >> good. pres. johnson: ok. i will be in touch with you. >> september 24, 1964, president johnson and george smathers, a member of the conference committee on medicare. lbj would sign the bill into law on july 30, 1965. another conference committee can member, albert gore senior talks lbj on october 2, 1964. >> i made a statement that i hope is not indiscrete. i said that this assures a
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health care bill next year, and a good one. this will permit you to take the issue to the people and seek a mandate, which i am confident you will receive. i want you to know that i said that. pres. johnson: no agreement? >> no agreement. there was only one change, senator byrd's vote to recede but george was there. russell did not show up. george voted his proxy and so four of us voted to insist upon the senate position. pres. johnson: that's wonderful. >> we adjourned -- but subject to consultation by senator byrd and wilbur if the congress should return after the
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election. the sentiment to adjourn is quite high on both sides. i think you can take this issue to the people and that we will get a good health plan next year. what they were trying desperately to do is drive through just social security benefits and leave health care standing bare and alone. we will put it together in a package. pres. johnson: you don't think we ought to try to recess or call them back after the election? we've already posted in the senate. we might not pass it in the senate anymore if we lose moss mcgee, new york, we might not have the votes. new york wouldn't make any difference, but some of the other places would.
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moss would, and mcgee would, and some of those. we got it passed. i can call the congress back in november. after the election, everybody is through. we will talk later. >> i will abide by your statement on that. pres. johnson: i want your judgment. see if we think we have trouble passing the senate again. we might get it back. >> october 2, 1964, albert gore senior telling president johnson that the conference committee has deadlocked on resolving differences between the house and senate versions of medicare. on november 6, three days after lbj defeats kerry goldwater in the election, the president has a call with medicare supporter and well-known pediatrician benjamin spock. >> on abc yesterday, we taped about a half hour or more on medicare, which abc is putting
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on sunday afternoon. pres. johnson: i will watch it. >> you remember what program it's on? pres. johnson: something about issues. >> they had -- tape the program. when they found i was going to do the other half, ama withdrew him. they did not want the country to get the impression that the medical profession was split on this issue. abc got senator tower of texas and he told them this was to be taped. when he called abc yesterday morning, he said that texas was a shambles and he couldn't come up to do it.
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they finally got a congressman -- he's doing the taping today. pres. johnson: i'm so grateful to you for doing it. i want to thank you again for your wonderful help in the campaign. i will try to be worthy of your confidence. >> president johnson and medicare supporter and physician benjamin spock on november 6 1964. on march 23, 1965, the house ways and means committee approves a new medicare measure, and we hear about that in a call from lbj to john mccormack. you also hear majority leader carl albert, wilbur mills, and assistant secretary wilbur colin, who speaks first. >> i think that's a great bill.
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pres. johnson: is that right? >> you got everything you wanted, but a lot more. it's a real -- bill. pres. johnson: how much does this cost my budget over what we estimated? >> it would be around $450 million more than what you estimated for the cost of the supplement program. pres. johnson: what do they do under that? how is that handled? >> generally speaking, it is physician services. pres. johnson: physicians? my doctor pumps my stomach out that physician? any medical services. >> any md services. pres. johnson: does he charge what he wants to? >> no, because this has been put in a separate fund, and the secretary of hew would have to make an agreement with someone like blue shield, and it would
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be their responsibility that they would regulate the fees of the backer. what he tried to do is be sure the government wasn't regulating fees directly. deal with the individual backer. the bill provides -- the backer can only charge the reasonable charges, that the intermediary would have to do all the policing. pres. johnson: that's good. what does it do for you the patient? it says you can have doctor bills paid up to what extent or how much? >> the individual patient has to put in the first $50.
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pres. johnson: that keeps your hypochondriacs out? it's something that nearly everybody could endure. their folks could get them that much to pay their part even if they did not have any money now. what does it get you on hospital and nursing home? >> the first 60 days of your hospital care with a $40 deductible. pres. johnson: that's good. >> in addition, it has the three other benefits that were in your bill, the home health services the outpatient diagnostic, and we fixed that amendment up -- remember the way the mill brothers -- and the only change
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was for the home health services. that has to be after you get out of the hospital. pres. johnson: what about the insurance companies? are they still raising hell? >> i think they will go over to the senate and raise hell on the thing. quite frankly, there is no room for the private insurance companies to sell policies for people over 65 when you take the combination of hospital care and physician services. pres. johnson: remember this nine out of 10 things i get in trouble on is because they lay around. tell the speaker and wilbur to please get a rule as soon as they can. >> we want to bring it up next week, mr. president. pres. johnson: you tell them not to lay around and do that. that gets the doctors organized. they get the others organized. and they will kill my education bill. it stinks. it's like a dead cat on a door.
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when a committee reports, you better bury that cat or get -- >> the speaker is saying he is way ahead of you. pres. johnson: congratulations. let me talk to carl. >> yes, sir. pres. johnson: how is littlejohn. that is mighty good. carl, get him to -- talk to john and smith and make him not let this stuff lay around until they generate opposition to it. >> yes, sir. >> march 23, 1965, carl albert about the approval of a new medicare measure are the house ways and means committee. next, lbj talks to committee chairman wilbur mills. >> mr. president, no worry about these doctors organizing against this bill. we have written the insurance people.
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i must admit, people over 65 but the ama is going in all directions. they come to me at the last minute, telling me they would accept the payroll tax to finance our program. you couldn't have that. they've come a long way. the insurance people are going to oppose it. they were going to oppose hr-1. anything we had, but they got no more vote for anyway. the only thing i'm concerned about is about there is $450 million in this bill for which you haven't budgeted. pres. johnson: i will take care
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of that. i will do that. you see what i have done. wilbur, this will not hold for the rest of the year, but for the first eight months, by constant cabinet pressure, withholding and threatening and being meaner than you or senator byrd, i am under $800 million what you are appropriated and what i said i would spend. i think that i will get down to $500 million. that is number one. number two, my deficit. it is $1 billion under my deficit last year. i've reduce the deficit $1 billion. i think that we can -- when they want to put in $400 million or $500 million, we have --
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we headed no judge in texas one time. i wanted to talk to him one time. he said, what is your constitution between friends. i say tell wilbur that $400 million will not separate us friends when it is for sickness because there is a greater demand, and i know it, for this bill and all my other programs put together. pres. johnson: mr. president they came to see me and i too was concerned about the impact. pres. johnson: we are worried about that. >> we revised the rates. we are keeping with their views. pres. johnson: what they wanted me to do, most of the spenders
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they said i was not putting enough money into the economy. now they come along and say, you are taking a lot more out here now and not putting anything back, and you are going to get in trouble. i said go see mills yourself and find some agreement. >> we have agreed that we have changed the bill. pres. johnson: that's good. i will congratulate the committee and you. for god's sake, don't let the dead cat stay on your porch. you call that son of a bitch up before you get that letter written. let me talk to the speaker. >> hello. pres. johnson: don't you let that dead cat hang around. that sounds like a better bill than we sent you.
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doesn't it to you? >> it does to me. pres. johnson: you and i never argued about $450 million for people over 65, did we? >> no. >> march 23, 1965, president lyndon johnson and john mccormick on the approval that day of a new medicare measure by the house ways and means committee. on april 8, the house approved the bill by a vote of 313-115. the senate passed the measure on july 9, 68-21. on july 30, 1965, medicare, as part of the social security commitments of 1965, was signed into law by president johnson. the audio information in this program courtesy of the miller center at the university of virginia. and the lbj presidential library
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at >> we conclude our look back at the 1965 medicare bill with footage from the july 30, 1965 bill signing ceremony at the harry s. truman presidential library in independence, missouri. in his opening remarks president johnson praised his predecessor, harry truman, for inspiring the legislation designed to protect americans as lbj put it from the "economic effects of sickness." this is about half an hour.


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