For his leadership in guiding to passage over 80 major pieces of health legislation, which together represent an historic and abiding commitment by the national government to the health of all of our people.
What do we Americans not owe to Senator Hill!
The debt is incalculable. Millions of people have reaped the dividends of better health and longer life because Senator Hill, the great medical statesman of our time, has lived. He stands alone in his gift to humanity, and humanity stands in his debt.
During his 46 years of congressional service, 31 of them as Senator, and 14 of those as chairman of the two Senate Committees having jurisdiction over legislation and appropriations in the fields of health, education and welfare, Senator Hill's major dedication has been to the prolongation of life and the improvement of the health of the American people.
Under his stewardship, more than 80 major pieces of health legislation have been guided to passage. His accomplishments represent an extraordinary and abiding commitment on the part of our national government to the better health of all of our people. His first health bill was the landmark Hill-Burton Hospital Construction Act in 1946, which has provided over 400,000 greatly needed new beds in hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities throughout the country.
Senator Hill's leadership has since provided the additional funds that have enabled thousands of medical professionals to have better training; millions of dollars have been spent for the construction of needed health research facilities; cancer, heart disease and stroke show greater hope of being conquered; the number of disabled persons who have been rehabilitated and restored to a life of usefulness has been greatly increased; a National Library of Medicine has been created; and countless numbers of people are living who would not be alive today except for Senator Hill's dedication to the cause of medical research.
In 1955, when Senator Hill became chairman of the Labor-HEW Subcommittee on Appropriations, the budget of all the National Institutes of Health was 81 million dollars. Working steadfastly in tandem with his House colleague, the late John Fogarty, these programs have been vastly expanded.
Today, at the time of Senator Hill's retirement, the NIH budget is approximately 1.5 billion dollars. The National Institutes of Health is the largest medical research enterprise in the world, and the research accomplishments made possible by this budget are acclaimed throughout the world.
So to you, Senator Hill, who has enriched the lives of millions of Americans with the benefits of your unique combination of humane concern and political genius, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation's Special Award is given.