tv 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid Summit CSPAN August 11, 2015 8:30am-9:19am EDT
the only judgment i can make at this point is that mills will certainly try every device he can to get an agreement on a conference that would include king, reluctant as they might be because he'd hate like hell to be on the house side of a conference where he and two republicans vote against two democrats to come out with a conference report. and geez, he starts -- >> i'll speak some business right now. you talk to -- i'll talk to you as soon as i get out of these independent businessmen. my thought would be that if we could get mills to agree that we would take it in confidence that would be fine. if not i would try to instruct the conferees. >> no, at the moment i share that view. but i do think this, that with
the stories around the country today, we've got something going on this damn thing. and god almighty, i hate to see that leadership join with mills as some kind of a wrapup that screws us quickly. >> well, i don't think they will until we decide it. >> all right. >> decide what screws us. >> yeah. >> if it screws us to -- i believe in the senate conference we'll never get it out with the votes, we don't have them. >> we don't have the votes in conference. >> what would screw us and what wouldn't? if we can't do any good in conference to vote her up or down, is that it? >> we can vote up or down but i do think we can spotlight the country on this thing. you know. giving us a little time. this damn congress will be ending the week of the 15th anyway. my view is that this thing can get really heated up. and i -- my view of the thing is that -- well, let's say -- i
know you're tied up now. if it's all right with you, why don't i get back to you and we'll talk about it further later this afternoon. >> from september 3rd, 1964, president johnson and his chief aide to congress, larry o'brien, in this special program of lbj's calls about medicare which he signed into law july 30th, 1965. on september 14th, 1964, larry o'brien tells lbj about his conversation with house leaders on the next step for medicare. >> hi, mr. president. hale boggs and karl albert called me a little while ago. and they came to the conclusion on their own 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 them that i was not going
to disturb you with it, that you had discussed the matter with me and you had left it up to me to do what we all thought best, and therefore that i could say to them that their argument made some sense and sounded reasonable, if they could get mills to comment in the colloquy at some point, that he of course would seriously consider the medicare provision in conference. that they should then withdraw any attempt to have any kind of floor action on it. and they were going to contact mccormack and they felt he shared their view. they asked me about labor. i told them that i knew labor shared their view because bemueller had called me to tell me exactly the same thing. in turn i called bemuler and told him i thought he had to carry out his responsibilities, should talk to the three leaders and should talk to cease sell
king and tell them what the view of labor was. and then the other aspect of it was that -- let's see. oh, yeah. that 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 perhaps, wilbur, is that there are many republicans that would be positioned finally on medicare that up to now have not taken a position in most instances, they are in contested districts. he said, how many of them will there be? i said, i suppose in the vicinity of 30 or so but i imagine that's what the speaker
has in mind. the speak they are morning talked to jim trimble, i don't know what transpired in the conversation, but the whole idea was the speaker had in his mind that he could ultimately convince trimble to hold a ruling tomorrow with instructions. he went out of his office -- >> wait just a second, i've got another phone. >> hello. >> yeah, so i won't pursue this. i know you're busy. i want to fill you in that the way it stands is the leadership came to this conclusion, they feel that there's some merit in putting the pressure on mills as best they could, so that the getting firm agreement as discussed in depth in the conference, then labor is notifying the leadership directly that they share the view and the leadership asks me what the white house position was and i said i would take it on my own because i didn't -- i wasn't in the position to consult with you further at this
point. i didn't feel that there was any need of having a big discussion involving you directly. that why didn't they just leave it, that they had talked to me and i am telling them on my own, whether i'm right or wrong, i'm taking the responsibility to agree with them and they can -- and their conversation with cecil king say they talked with me and i agreed with the relationship. >> okay. >> okay, mr. president. >> president johnson and his chief aide to congress, larry o'brien, talking about medicare on september 14th, 1964. on september 24th, as a conference committee works to resolve the differences between the senate and house versions of the bill, lbj gets a call from conferee and louisiana democratic senator russell long. he's also a member of the senate finance committee which earlier worked on medicare. and you'll hear mentions of committee chair harry byrd and committee democratic members albert gore senior and clinton anderson. >> russell? >> i had a minute but i had some folks out of here. i want to find out -- they told me you broke up this afternoon, did you make any progress? >> mr. president, god, i don't
like the way things are going. i thought with wilbur mills talked to us a couple of days as though he's going to do something, that that meant that he'd do what he's talking about. you see? and so i was just riding on cloud nine figuring he was going to settle this medicare thing, get it out of our hair, get it behind us. but then -- now to date, as i talked to you, i've been out campaigning for votes. i think eve i've got a majority. when humphrey gets up to do his job. but i left that thing with anderson understanding -- see, i can't leave my proxy with him because herbert will say i double-crossed him if i did that. the only thing i can do is just to be there when the vote occurs, you know. send for him when you need me. anyway, we've been sitting there with a proxy for me to hang on in the event that we had to do this. now wilbur -- wilbur said something to me this morning
that sounded like he wasn't planning to take anything. he said, you've got to divorce it completely from social security, otherwise it can't be considered. then he brings up -- i wish you'd talked to clinton anderson, anderson is very upset about the way things are going right now. so i figure, well -- i guess if worse come to worst, i'll go and make a missionary call. frankly i'm in a hell of a spot. harry burg wants to beat this thing. and as you know, i love the guy, i'm tied to him, and i've tried to be true to him and all that sort of thing. at the same time i'd be willing to take anything he'd go for and i'm hanging on for it as a responsible senate conferee. but even our vote against him on the floor. i think we're in trouble and i think clinton's going to explain to you better than i can.
wilbur hadn't shown his hand yet but i think what we're in for is he's getting ready to say, hasn't talked to us for a couple of days, but i'm sorry, fellows, this stuff won't work and can't be done, that being the case i suggest we go ahead and settle for the rest of the bill, talking about this medicare business next year. now -- i can vote against receiving two or three times. after that i'm going to have to vote to receive. now, you said make them vote on it. and i've approached wilbur with just that. so he said, no, i'm not going to do that. he said -- i said, i suggest you go back to disagreement and ask for instruction. he said, i'm not going to do that. so i think -- >> how one can ever make an issue over that. >> what? >> how can i ever make an issue in the house if i can't get a vote on it? >> here's my thought. my thought is he takes that back -- see, the house has to act first on a conference report. so he takes that conference
report back. now, i think i ought to sign it if he gets down to where he can't -- i think i ought to sign what we can get. then gore and anderson should refuse to sign. now, then when he goes back to the house, i think that the house people -- see, now we will -- the senate is going to owe both this conference report. put them on notice, we're going to oppose it. the question comes in the house on approving the conference report. and somebody should get up and pay, boggs will be a logical guy to do it, say, we think in good conscience, we think in good conscience we should have taken at least some part of what the senate had. you see? we think there should have been some kind of a medicare program. and we want more conference.
we want to go back and confer. and i'm against that conference report. of course, you recall all my frustrating efforts to get back to conference when i lost my amendment. and i'd say that -- the one time i did get back to conference, recall the time we were fighting on that thing? >> yeah. >> we beat the conference report. so i would say that the surer you can get a vote on it, and when they bring it back up, when they bring it back to the house and bring that thing up, you can say, now, wait a minute. i think that we should have taken some part of medicare. and i think that we ought to go on record on this. and the only way i see to do it is to vote against the conference report. that's my thought right now. >> let me talk to clinical. you forget i called you so they won't get jealous. i'll talk to him later, much obliged to you, bye.
>> president johnson and louisiana democratic senator russell long, a member of the conference committee on the medicare amendment to the social security bill. on september 24th, 1964. later that day, lbj gets an update about the conference committee from the house majority whip hale boggs. >> hello, mr. president. >> i want to ask you what happened in social security. they're going to give it to us again? >> well, i'm afraid so. what happened was that we were within a half breath of having the thing agreed to. and clint anderson, got bless him, not knowing what a devious guy he is, says, well, now we better check on whether or not this thing is jermaine, whether it's subject to point of order. and i said, christ, that's all he needs to get off the hook. sure enough. he comes back, and it may be subject to point of order. in the meantime i've talked with mccormack and i know we get a rule, whether it's subject to point of order or not. and it ended up, i just told him, i said, well, we're just going to fight the thing out, mr. change. mr. chairman. the idea of you taking this course, you think it's reprehensible to get a rule, i think it's reprehensible for you to act the way you acted.
and we ended up the way we ended was that we are going to draft something, but he's giving us all this baloney about not going to the rules committee to work on the jermaineness. and this is just a -- this is a way to get off -- to get out, that's all. i tell you this, i think if we don't take some part of medicare, by ought to batter the whole damn bill. >> okay. all right. >> okay, mr. president. >> president johnson and house majority whip hale boggs on september 24th, 1964. later that day, lbj gets more bad news about the medicare bill in the conference committee with conferee and florida democratic senator george smathers. >> mr. president, i find from touching the three bases who were there, actively there -- >> i talked to them.
i talked to russell and hale and somebody else. >> russell wasn't there today. >> yeah, he -- >> like me, he was recognized logged in on this other job and i was busy raising $75,000 from florida. which we raised. and i got that fellow that we talked about, remember just a little bit, he comes from virginia, he's coming in. anyway. you got the picture that it looks -- did you talk with clint? >> no. i'm going to, though.
i've got the attorney general here with me. as soon as i finish with the meeting i was going to call him. >> well, all right. okay. you might -- better you talk with him yourself. i talked with him and he told me what happened. anyway, you're going to do it. so talk with barry and i talked with wilbur coyne and everybody there had the impression that it looks worse now than it has looked. the opinion it should wind itself out. he thinks that would be the best. now, wilbur coyne does not, necessarily. of course, byrd, he's against any of it. so he would be trying to wind it out. the house people would like for us to pass the bill on the grounds they would forever foreclose passage of medical care because it would use up those valuable points. i have asked what is best for you? i have a feeling clint is probably right, sometimes a better issue sometimes than it is a fact. it looks like now they're going to be able to recess, sign and die, by saturday night. >> good. my friend, thank you, i'll be in touch.
>> thanks. >> from september 24th, 1964, president johnson and florida democratic senator george smathers. a member of the conference committee on medicare. lbj would sign that bill into law on july 30th, 1965. another conference committee member, tennessee democratic senator albert gore senior, talks to lbj on october 2nd, 1964. >> i made a statement which i hope has not been discreet and i wanted to tell you about it. i said that this, in my opinion, assures health care bill next year and a good one, that this will permit you to take the issue to the people and seek a mandate, which i'm confident you will receive. and i want you to know that i had said that. >> well, you just had no agreement? >> had no agreement, that's right. there was only one change this
morning. senator byrd, who yesterday apparently changed his vote to receive. but george -- george was there. russell didn't show up. but george voted his proxy. and so four of us roted to insist upon the senate position. and we have adjourned not subject to the -- subject to consultation by senator byrd and wilbur, if the congress should return after the election. >> that's good. >> the sentiment to adjourn up here is quite high on both sides. i think you can take this issue to the people that we will get a good health plan next year. what they were trying desperately to do is to drive through just the social security benefits and leave health care
standing bad alone. >> yeah, yeah. >> now we'll put it in the package. >> that's right. now you don't think we'll try to recess or you don't think we ought to try to call them back after the election? see, we've already passed it in the senate. we might not pass it in the senate anymore. if we lose moss, if we lose mcgee, we lose new york or three or four of these places, we might just not have the votes. new york would make a difference but some of the other places would. moss would and mcgee would. some of those. now, we've got it passed. and i'm calling congress back november. but we don't have to cross that till the 15th. after the election, everybody's threw. by outgive a little salt to it and we'll talk later. >> i'll abide by your decision on that. >> i want your judgment.
we'll have to see how the election jumps out, i guess. see if we think we'll have trouble passing the senate again. >> from october 2nd, 1964, tennessee democratic senator 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 6th, three days after lbj defeats barry goldwater in the election, the president has a call with medicare supporter and well-known pediatrician benjamin spock. >> you might be interested, on abc yesterday we taped a -- my half of a half-hour event for medicare which abc is putting on on sunday afternoon. >> oh, i'll watch it, i'll watch it. >> going on to the next step. >> do you remember what program it's on, what they call it? >> it's something issues. >> "answers and issues." "issues and answers."