Public Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936

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Author: Franklin D. Roosevelt  | Date: October 2, 1936

149 Address at the Dedication of the Medical Center, Jersey City, N.J.
October 2, 1936

Senator Moore, Mayor Hague, my friends and neighbors of Jersey City:
I do not think there is any person with red blood in his veins who would not be thrilled by this wonderful sight. I am very happy to come here to take part in the dedication of this, the third largest medical institutional group in the whole of the United States.

The Mayor has been kind enough to say that this Medical Center would not have been possible without financial help from the Federal Government. But, my friends, remember that it was not just financial help that created this Medical Center. It was something more important than dollars and cents. It was a dream of your Mayor dating back many years. That is what built the Medical Center.

In the great work of taking care of sick people, the Federal Government and the local governments have been glad to play their part. It is true that the Public Works Administration in Washington has helped various communities to increase the capacity of American hospitals in the past two years by 50,000 beds.

During the depression the difficulty of obtaining funds through municipal or private sources would have meant a serious shortage in taking care of sick people and in giving them adequate facilities, had it not been for Federal assistance through loans and grants.

But there is another reason for increasing the bed capacity of the hospitals of the country. The medical and nursing professions are right in telling us that we must do more, much more, to help the small-income families in times of sickness.

Let me with great sincerity give the praise which is due to the doctors and the nurses of the Nation for all that they have done during those difficult years that lie behind us, often at great sacrifice, in maintaining the standards of care for the sick and in devoting themselves without reservation to the high ideals of their profession.

These professions can rest assured that the Federal Administration contemplates no action detrimental to their interests. The action taken in the field of health, as shown by the provisions of the splendid Social Security Act recently enacted, is clear.

For that Act does not only provide unemployment insurance for people who, through no fault of their own, get out of work. That Act contains four provisions dealing with health that are very often forgotten, especially in the heat of a political campaign. Those provisions received the support of outstanding doctors during the hearings before the Congress. The American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association and the State and Territorial Health Officers Conference, and I think the nurses’ associations as well, came out in full support of the public health provisions. The American Child Health Association and the Child Welfare League endorsed the maternal and child health provisions.

This in itself assures the Nation that the health plans will be carried out in a manner compatible with our traditional social and political institutions. Let me make that point very clear. All States and Territories are now cooperating with the Public Health Service. And nearly all of them are cooperating in maternal and child health service, and in service to the crippled children of the Nation.

Public Support is behind this program. Let me add that the Act contains every precaution for insuring the continued support and cooperation of the medical and nursing profession.

In the actual administration of the Social Security Act we count on the cooperation in the future, as hitherto, of the whole of the medical profession throughout the country. The overwhelming majority of the doctors of the Nation want medicine kept out of politics. On occasions in the past attempts have been made to put medicine into politics. Such attempts have always failed and always will fail.

Government, State and national, will call upon the doctors of the Nation for their advice in the days to come.

A great many years ago I discovered something, and so did Mayor Hague. We discovered a common bond, a common interest in the cause of the crippled child. That common bond has persisted through the years. I have tried to help in my limited way. Frank Hague has done a great service not only to you good people who are alive today in Jersey City and Hudson County, but a service that is going to last for many, many generations to come. It is a service than which there is none higher within the range or the bounds of human endeavor. Mayor Hague, his associates, and the people of this city have pointed the way for many other communities in the Nation. May they see and emulate the fruition of this splendid dream.

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Chicago: Franklin D. Roosevelt, "149 Address at the Dedication of the Medical Center, Jersey City, N.J.," Public Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936 in Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936 (New York: Russell & Russell, 1938-1950), Item 238 Original Sources, accessed February 9, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8FKYXG69NV6XTXW.

MLA: Roosevelt, Franklin D. "149 Address at the Dedication of the Medical Center, Jersey City, N.J." Public Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936, in Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936 (New York: Russell & Russell, 1938-1950), Item 238, Original Sources. 9 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8FKYXG69NV6XTXW.

Harvard: Roosevelt, FD, '149 Address at the Dedication of the Medical Center, Jersey City, N.J.' in Public Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936. cited in , Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936 (New York: Russell & Russell, 1938-1950), Item 238. Original Sources, retrieved 9 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8FKYXG69NV6XTXW.