Page images

ratio in other States shows some of the reasons why those States needed Federal fund (5 year averages: Illinois, 1.5; Michigan, 3; Pennsylvania, 2.9; national, 1.7).

Just last year one high ratio State substantially tightened its laws covering payments for pregnancy and to pensioners. We believe such reform efforts are the preferable approach to the problem. We feel sure that many States still have not demanded that people search diligently for work before becoming eligible for benefits. Renewal of such abuses will provide additional funds under their existing programs. Meanwhile, industries in States (such as Iowa) which are attentive to administering their laws properly, should not have their taxes raised to help out States which are not doing as well. It is our belief that unemployment compensation is primarily a State matter. Increasing the amount of Federal funds available to the States will heighten the Federal role in this area and correspondingly reduce State responsibilities. Very truly yours,

LEO F. DEKALB, Employee Relations Manager.


July 6, 1960. Hon. HARRY BYRD, Chairman, Şenate Finance Committee, Washington, D.O.

DEAR SENATOR: The Guild of Prescription Opticians of New Jersey wish to call your attention to and urge you to vote for (the Mills bill) H.R. 12580, title XVI.

We believe that this bill in its present form affords protection against health care costs for the near needy and affords protection against an unsound and unbalanced national economy. Respectfully,





Los Angeles, Calif., July 8, 1960. To Senate Finance Committee:

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, as president of the National League of Senior Citizens and chairman of the California Institute of Social Welfare, I represent more than 250,000 elderly Americans in 23 States. We may safely assume that the views of the members of these organizations parallel the opinions of the 23 million Americans of 60 years of age or older who make up our growing population of aged men and women.

In my day-to-day contacts with the senior citizens who belong to the National League and the California Institute, I am keenly aware of a new attitude on the part of the aged. Better educated and more widely informed than previous generations of oldsters, these elderly citizens are approaching open rebellion against outmoded social concepts that isolate them economically. Their working lifetimes were spent, for the most part, in fairly comfortable financial circumstances. To be condemned to pauperism in their later years is repugnant to them. They want financial security, dignity, and self-respect in old age. Moreover, they feel that they've paid for their retirement by helping to enrich this Nation in the years when they were part of its productive machinery.

At this moment, they are perilously close to crystallizing into a new, and formidably powerful, minority group. Unlike other minorities, whose loyalties are torn between race and religion, color and party, the elderly are overwhelmingly in agreement on one issue—the care of the aged. This overriding question is sufficient to overcome all other influences, political, religious, sectional, or racial. We must face their problems and act courageously and intelligently, or we may upset the Nation's political balance.

The turning point, as far as millions of needy, elderly Americans are concerned, involves the social security bill now before the Senate Finance Committee. Hopefully, they look to this committee to provide immediate help, while steps are taken to meet their broad goals of the future.

First of all, they earnestly pray that this committee will revise the so-called Mills bill (H.R. 12580) into a measure providing real health protection. Eminent experts in the field have already pointed out the many shortcomings of the Mills bill medical care plan. A proposal similar to the Kennedy bill, the McNamara bill, or the plan offered by Senator Anderson would be much more acceptable to the elderly. Moreover, approval of a bill of this kind would give the Congress an opportunity to demonstrate their sincere interest in the problems of the elderly.

But, while medical care is indeed an urgent need of the aged, another necessity must not be overlooked. I speak of money--eating money. This is a subject around which the lives of millions of old folks revolve. The struggle for survival-enough money to buy sufficient food, shelter, and clothing-occupies virtually all their walking hours. To the neediest of the elderly and this includes roughly two-thirds of all the 16 million Americans of 65 or older-the problem of medical care is an academic one. It will remain so until steps are taken to increase social security and public assistance payments to a level sufficient to provide a decent standard of living.

Picture, if you will, the plight of a retired American who receives minimum social security benefits, about $33 per month for a retired worker. Suppose this retiree has a wife, 62 years or older, who receives the minimum dependency payment, $16.50 per month. This couple, then, receives a total social security benefit of $49.50 per month. In many States, folks receiving social security payments are ineligible for State public assistance. The result is human tragedy, multiplied millions of times. Can we, as the richest, most progressive Nation on earth, permit starvation and want to dwell in our midst while we cajole other countries to rally to our banner in the struggle against worldwide communism? I think not.

I appeal this committee to move swiftly in this critical area. Substantial increases in social security must be voted in this session of Congress.

Another improvement in the Social Security Act that must be made immediately affects the current, hopelessly outdated earnings limitation imposed on recipients. At present, those receiving benefits are prohibited from earning more than $1,200 a year without jeopardizing their Federal payments. I recommend that this figure be increased promptly to at least $2,400. The members of this committee must fully realize the hardships, injustices, and outright law violations caused by the present limitations.

Next, this committee should include an immediate increase in public assistance funds to permit the States to grant old-age assistance recipients long overdue cost-of-living increases. People receiving this type of aid are among the poorest of the poor, and millions are now caught in an irresistible squeeze between inflation and lagging pension payments. They need and deserve help now.

Your attention must be called to a situation long ignored by our Nation's lawmakers. I speak of the right of State old-age pensioners to earn small sums without affecting their benefit payments Many are fit for light, casual employment, even though their age and infirmities make them unable to hold regular jobs. They should be able to earn pin money at babysitting, gardening, or other duties without fearing financial retaliation if their well-meaning efforts are uncovered.

I propose that a provision be included in the 1960 social security bill allowing State old-age pensioners to earn up to $50 a month without endangering their Federal-State payments.

These are the steps that must be taken now if the elderly of America are to retain their faith in their lawmakers. As for the future, let me outline briefly the program adopted by the National League of Senior Citizens in their nationwide convention in Los Angeles, June 3–4.

1. Increased social security benefits, equal to earnings under the Federal minimum wage law, now about $173 per month.

2. Inclusion of all State old-age pensioners into the social security system, saving many millions of dollars annually for State and local taxpayers.

3. Reduced eligibility ages for both men and women, offsetting the unemployment caused by automation and new industrial production techniques.

4. Inclusion of the Federal Government as a one-third contributor to the social security fund, to lessen the burden on employers and employees and bring

[ocr errors]

this Nation abreast with many of our Western allies who adopted this system years ago.

5. An increased ceiling on earnings permissible for social security recipients, doubling the present $1,200 limitation to $2,400 annually.

6. A drastic change in policy regarding Federal aid for housing for the elderly, junking the “trickle down” approach for a Federal “crash program” to encourage nonprofit corporations to develop low-rent housing facilities for the aged through direct Federal loans at low interest rates with 50-year payback provisions.

This is our blueprint for the future. While we do not expect these improve ments to be adopted this year, and perhaps not next year, we are confident that they point the way to a sound, adequate retirement program for elderly Americans. I will be most happy to provide additional details to any members of the committee who are interested.

Millions of elderly men and women are watching the activities of this committee with burning interest. I have attempted to outline the areas in which immediate action is necessary and the direction in winch the aged hope America will proceed in the years to come. Thank you for your attention.



I should appreciate the opportunity of testifying before the Senate Finance Committee in favor of extending social security to physicians. The American Medical Association does not-repeat not—reflect the opinions of the American physician on social security coverage. Official polls in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania are overwhelmingly in favor of coverage for doctors.

Member, Medical Economics Committee,

Philadelphia County Medical Society.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 8, 1960. Hon. HARRY F. BYRD, U.S. Senate, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.:

Glad to hear you are having hearings on health insurance. Would be glad to testify but I know there is pressure of time. Refer you to evidence before Ways and Means at earlier meeting and my statement before Senate Committee on Aging in fall 1959. Strongly urge a bill putting health insurance under OASDI.

SEYMOUR E. HARRIS, Littauer Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University.

CHICAGO, ILL., July 8, 1960. Senator HARRY F. BYRD, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.:

Of the bills now under consideration by your committee re health insurance for the aged, the President's Council of the Older Adults Department of the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago see in the McNamara bill the features offering most adequate service to the majority of aged now in our country therefore we urge that you give full consideration only to those bills containing the following elements: Prepaid insurance administered through the Social Security Administration and coverage for all aged persons.

We trust that in this election year an adequate bill will be passed meeting this vital need.

BEATRICE BANDOLIN, Chairman President's Council Older Adults, Department of Jewish Community Centers of Chicago.


NATIONAL CHIROPRACTIC ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 30, 1960 Mr. Chairman, my name is Dr. Emmett J. Murphy. I am the director of industrial relations of the National Chiropractic Association. I am a resident of Washington, D.C. I come before you to testify on H.R. 12580, particularly as to its provisions respecting the rights of the old age recipients under the bill to continue to obtain the services of duly licensed physicians who are presently meeting their health needs, and of any others who under the terms of this act may wish to obtain the care and attention of any one of the legally licensed doctors practicing the healing art in the State of which they may be residents,

To obtain fair and equal treatment it will be necessary to amend title XVI, Medical Services for the Aged, section 1606 (e) of H.R. 12580 to read as follows:

“(e) The term “physicians' services' means services provided in the exercise of his profession in any State by a duly licensed doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, and doctor of chiropractic licensed in such State.”

That wherever in the act any reference made to “physicians' services” or “physician” shall include the meaning of this section (e) as amended above.

This amendment is offered in behalf of the many thousands of elderly people whose health is maintained by the aid of the professional services of doctors of chiropractic, and by those who like these patients may seek the assistance of these doctors.

This amendment is offered, also, as a proper protection of the professionally established and licensed rights of the thousands of members of one of the healing professions, who would be discriminated against if the amendment was not included in the law. Surely, it is not the intention of the Congress to cause any such discrimination, nor to invade the rights of the States to determine who shall be licensed and privileged to render service to any of their citizens.

Doctors of chiropractic who practice among these older people are acutely aware of their health needs. We believe their economic circumstances and the unpredictability of their health, coupled with the cost of nursing and physicians' services, combine to present a problem of serious national importance. We are not expert in recommending the exact way of administering any program to meet these conditions. We confine ourselves to an expression of view strictly within our professional purview. We are aware of the need of these aging people, for many are patients of doctors of chiropractic.

We therefore respectfully request the amendment suggested above.


Washington, D.C., June 21, 1960.
Re H.R. 12580, Social Security Amendments of 1960.
Chairman, Committee on Finance,
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR BYRD: The Christian Science Board of Directors, in Boston, Mass., the administrative head of the Christian Science Church, has asked me, as its Washington representative, to write you about the change in the law proposed in section 104 of H.R. 12580.

Section 104 of this bill which passed the House and is now before your committee amends subsection 211 (c) (5) of the Social Security Act and subsection 1402 (C) (5) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 so as to include doctors of medicine under old-age and survivors insurance coverage. These code sections presently exempt Christian Science practitioners from compulsory OASI coverage.

Should your committee decide to include doctors of medicine under OASI coverage, we urgently request that the status of Christian Science practitioners not be changed and that section 104 of the bill be reported as passed by the House, as it would in no way affect the present status of Christian Science practitioners.

The thoughtful consideration of this request by your committee will be appreciated. Sincerely,

J. BUROUGHS STOKES, Manager, Washington, D.C., Office.


June 24, 1960.
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee,
Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR BYRD: I would like to submit an amendment to H.R. 12580, the Social Security Amendments Act of 1960. This bill passed the House of Repre sentatives on Thursday, June 23, 1960. Your committee undoubtedly will be considering the bill very shortly.

The amendment I propose is an updated version of section 316 of Public Law 85–840—the Social Security Amendments Act of 1958. Action to include the section in H.R. 12580 was started too late to make it part of the bill at the time of its passage on June 23. Section 316 is scheduled to expire on July 1, 1960.

The purpose of section 316 was to give a number of towns and quasi-municipal corporations an opportunity to become covered under the social security program in addition to the State retirement system. In the 2 years that the section has been in effect, all but 13 political subdivisio in Maine have taken advantage of this opportunity. The remaining communities, with few exceptions, are the larger communities in the State. They are interested in social security coverage and are working with the State retirement system to integrate the two programs so that double coverage is not financially prohibitive.

I have been assured by William L. Mitchell, Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, that the De partment will not oppose legislation which would extend the June 30 deadline of section 316 through at least 1961.

I have also received assurances from Chairman Wilbur Mills of the House Ways and Means Committee that the House managers will accept the amendment in the conference committee. The proposed amendment is appended on page 2 of this letter. I request your support and the support of the whole committee for its inclusion in the Senate version of H.R. 12580. Any attention you might be able to give to this request would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely,



For the purposes of any modification which might be made after the date of enactment of this Act and prior to July 1, 1961, by the State of Maine of its existing agreement made under section 218 of the Social Security Act, any retirement system of such State which covers positions of teachers and positions of other employees shall, if such State so desires, be deemed (notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (d) of such section) to consist of a separate retirement system with repect to the positions of such teachers and a separate retirement system with respect to the positions of such other employees; and for the purposes of this sentence, the term “teacher” shall mean any teacher, principal, supervisor, school nurse, school dietitian, school secretary or superintendent employed in any public school, including teachers in unorganized territory.

(Whereupon, at 5:30 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 10:20 a.m., Thursday, June 30, 1960.)

« PreviousContinue »