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On an individual basis, this comes to a maximum of $1 a month or about 24 cents a week from the employer and from the employee.
The benefits I have outlined do not all become available all at once.
In the bill I am introducing, hospitalization diagnostic services become available as of July 1, 1961, or not later than January 1, 1962, if the Secretary of HEW deems it necessary.
Nursing home care and expensive drug costs would be phased in over a period of 1 to 112 years.
Nursing homes, for example, need to be brought up to standards before we start paying for their services.
Therefore, payments for nursing home care would start on January 1, 1963, and not later than July 1 of the same year.
Home health services would start on January 1, 1962, or not later than July 1 in the same year.
Partial payments for very expensive drugs would start on July 1, 1962, and not later than July 1 of the following year.
The Secretary of HEW would be authorized to designate the dates within these periods, when these benefits would be available.
Thus, keeping in mind the practical aspects of introducing what is considered to be an adequate health program for the retired aged, we have thus allowed for a gradual introduction of such a program. This also, again being realistic, means a lower cost at the outset.
The two first provisions—hospitalization and diagnostic services—would cost $1.1 billion.
By the end of the entire waiting period, with all the services made available, including nursing homes, home medical care, and expensive drugs, the total cost would be $1.5 billion a year. About $1.1 billion would come from the social security payroll deduction, the remainder from general revenue. I repeat the point made earlier, that the Federal Government is already contributing the bulk of such a remainder.
I must, at this point, make clear again that very little of these amounts can be said truthfully to constitute costs to the Government.
Remembering that the basic financing comes through the payroll tax of the employed population, this can hardly be called Government costs.
Furthermore, as I said before, a large part of the expenditures on the nonOASDI retired aged under this bill is already being met through the Treasury.
The Federal share of vendor payments for medical care under old-age assistance, for example, is about $153 million, not to mention large amounts already being expended on hospitalization and related services for other groups, about $85 million.
These, then, are the major provisions of the legislation. Its passage will be an accomplishment of which the entire Nation would be proud.
A few other aspects of the bill should be briefly mentioned :
While the benefits included do not provide payment for surgical care by physicians, they do include payments for all other hospitalization expenses associated with surgery, such as the use of the operating room, anesthetics, and so forth.
The Secretary of HEW may use the accrediting service of the American Hospital Association for assuring quality of care.
Only those nursing homes will be included which meet truly adequate standards for care and rehabilitation.
An Advisory Council, consisting of the Commissioner of Social Security, the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, and representatives of the general public and of the hospital and health fields, shall advise and assist the Secretary of HEW in the formulation of policy.
If the Secretary deems it advisable, he may use the services of nonprofit organizations skilled in dealing with hospitalization of patients in the whole or any part of the United States.
Although the provisions do not apply to retirees under the Railroad Retirement Act, or to retirees of the Federal Government, they could come under the program by their funds "buying into" the act's medical insurance trust fund at a later date.
Finally, as a way of deliberating, seeking to improve the health status of our aged citizens, the act calls for research and demonstration programs by the Department of HEW on how to improve health services.
Mr. President, the passage of the Retired Persons Medical Insurance Act S. 3503-would be a major accomplishment of which the entire Nation, and the Congress, will be proud.
A brief study of the history of related legislation will show that a few years after its passage even the opponents of this current proposal will be praising its beneficial effects upon the millions of Americans directly involved, and upon the larger millions of other Americans indirectly affected by the problem of financing adequate health care of the aged.
Mr. President, in conclusion I ask unanimous consent that the names of Senator McCarthy, Senator Engle, Senator Green, Senator Bartlett, and Senator Mansfield be added as cosponsors of S. 3503.
For the record I should like to say that Senator McCarthy was an original cosponsor but his name was left off the bill through inadvertence.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Number of patients discharged, number per 1,000 persons per year, and percent
distribution; number of hospital days, number per 1,000 persons per year, and percent distribution, and average length of stay of patients discharged, excluding deliveries, by ses and age: Short-stay hospitals, United States, July 1957– June 1958
Source of this and following tables from National Health Survey, U.S. Public Health Service.
Number of patients discharged, number per 1,000 persons per year, and average
length of stay by sex, age, and race: Short-stay hospitals, United States, July 1957-June 1958
Percent distribution of patients discharged: by length-of-stay intervals according
to sex and age: short-stay hospitals, United States, July 1957–June 1958
Under 15.. 15 to 24.. 25 to 44. 45 to 64. 65+
7. 2 14. 2 30.9 28. 1
5. 8 2.2 3.6 11. 1 16. 2
1. 7 .7 .9 4.6 9. 6
Percent distribution of hospital days by length-of-stay intervals according to sex
and age: Patients discharged from short-stay hospitals, United States, July 1957-June 1958
Percent distribution of persons by limitation of activity due to chronic conditions
according to sex and age: United States, August 1957
Percent distribution of persons by limitation of mobility due to chronic conditions
according to sew and age: United States, August 1957
Number of days and number of days per person per year of restricted activity and
bed disability by sex and age: United States, July 1957–June 1958
Health insurance for the aged is fast becoming the No. 1 issue facing Con. gress this year. And there's political dynamite in it: Any candidate suspected by