On this day, October 2, in 1960, RN published a paper on medical research focusing on developing solutions for healthcare advances in the 1960s and sustaining “the most advanced medical care in the world.”

What makes this paper so interesting — in addition to the concrete solutions offered within it — is that it was published while he was running for President in 1960, eleven years before he would introduce landmark healthcare reform initiatives in 1971 as President.

Healthcare was an important issue in 1960, though not pressing. President Truman in 1949 proposed a national, federal government-run healthcare system, which was quickly denounced, and while throughout the 1950s several legislative proposals were offered to coincide with breakthrough developments in medication and surgical procedures, none gained any traction.

That is why this 1960 paper carries such significant weight, in that RN was one of the few leaders talking about healthcare and developing solutions. It contains many proposals that RN would later offer as President; the 1960 paper suggests additional federal funds for research and development of cures, which is precisely what happened when RN signed the 1971 National Cancer Act.

He also talked about the importance of presidential leadership on this issue:

The leadership and full persuasion of the Presidency will be needed to mobilize increased effort behind our medical and dental schools, hospitals, and institutes. An expanding part of this effort should come from private sources, since every American has a vital, personal concern with illness.

Check out the full paper here!

Jimmy Byron is a Communications and Marketing Assistant at the Nixon Foundation. In addition, he is a second-year student at Chapman University.

Photo Credit: Peter Breinig, The San Francisco Chronicle