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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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I said, “How much would they have out off, if we hadn't gotten the additional money from Truman?” He said, “God knows! At least we're just where we were.”

This meant we must start all over again to make a drive for construction funds and for additional funds across the board. It was very hard in the House as the new Chairman was Busby of Chicago, a Republican, who calls himself proudly “a reactionary.” He's certainly friendly with the AMA and undoubtedly was against any increases that they might know about.

The end of March '53 produced one important announcement, and that was the announcement of a polio vaccine by Dr. Salk of the University of Pittsburgh. This work had been supported by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, and it was the first time that any voluntary health agency supported a major solution to a disease itself. It was the result of 15 years of research in the field and about 18 million dollars.

Basil O'Connor, who was indefatigable in the fight, deserves the most terrific credit, along with Dr. Salk.


Were Mr. O'Connor's effort centered in that?


Yes. He was not a bit helpful or interested and he really didn't want federal funds in the polio field until it came to testing the vaccine on a very big scale. He wanted no federal funds for research at all and he wasn't interested in federal funds for research in other diseases.

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