Page images

to know when you put it on a percentage basis how many actually voted.

Mr. KELBER. We will be glad to have that sent to the committee by tomorrow, if that will be all right with the chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. If you will insert that in the record.
Mr. KELBER. All right; we'll have that inserted in the record.
(The following was subsequently received for the record :)

Information requested by Senator Byrd at Senate Finance Committee hearings on Thursday, June 30, 1960, is herewith supplied by the Committee on Social Security for Physicians as an addition to the oral testimony of Dr. Ira L. Schamberg:

Dr. SCHAMBERG. The Committee on Social Security for Physicians, in reply to your request, Mr. Chairman, is happy to submit the following supplementary data pertaining to statewide social security polls among physicians. These figures have been compiled from reports appearing in State medical society journals and independent medical publications, from our communication, by letter and phone, with a number of executive secretaries of State medical societies, from reports by members of our committee, and from affidavits of the Honest Ballot Association.

Results of 18 State polls of physicians on the issue of social security coverage

[blocks in formation]

1 The California poll is a l-in-10 poll of the State's 21,045 physicians, conducted by the Honest Ballot Association.


27,426 physicians favor coverage: 62.5 percent of all physicians voting.
16,330 physicians oprose coverage: 37.5 percent of all physicians voting.
The 43,756 physicians who cast yes or no votes represent 46 percent of all physicians in these States.

In two State society pollsMaryland and Montana—the vote was mixed and inconclusive. In Maryland, physicians opposed “compulsory” coverage 853 to 368, but favored “voluntary coverage for themselves" by a vote of 741 to 571. In Montana, the physicians opposed compulsory coverage 256 to 65, but approved voluntary coverage 195 to 133.

In the case of four State medical societies, only percentage figures were available : Rhode Island, 70 percent for, 30 percent against; Utah, 60 percent for, 40 percent against; Vermont, 65 percent for, 35 percent against; Washington State, 60 percent for, 40 percent against.

In two States— Virginia and Wisconsin-no figures or percentages have as yet been released, although the State medical societies have informed our committee that a majority of the physicians voted against social security coverage. The two States have been listed accordingly in our tabulation.

We have also leaned backward, Mr. Chairman, in estimating the ratio of physicians who returned yes or no ballots as against the total number of physicians in these States. Our figure of slightly more than 46 percent is obviously conservative as it does not take into account the following categories: physicians who cast blank or “undecided" ballots; those who are not members of the AMA; those who did not receive ballots because of change of address; those who sent in ballots after the poll was closed ; and so forth.

To conclude this point, Mr. Chairman, we sincerely believe that these figures, in addition to the data we have already presented at these hearings, provide clear-cut evidence that a substantial majority of the Nation's self-employed physicians want social security coverage. The CHAIRMAN. Have you got anything else to say, sir?

. Dr. SCHAMBERG. Yes, sir, I do. To complete Dr. Aaron's statement:

In conclusion, we would like to state our approval of the provision passed by the House, which would indicate not only self-employed physicians but also interns under the social security law.

I believe that this statement indicates clearly the desire of the physicians for social security. I would like, with your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, to spend just a moment indicating the need that physicians have for social security and I would like to read from an article in Medical Economics dated February 29, 1960 entitled "Two hundred Destitute Physicians Found in Six States.” I quote:

Physicians may earn more money during their lifetime than men in many other professions, yet a surprising number of doctors die broke. According to Dr. Beverly C. Smith of New York City there is far more indigency among doctors than many medical men realize. Medical societies of six States have told him that they consider the problem of major concern. These six States reported a total contribution last year for the support of needy physicians of $180,000. In many instances physicians relied entirely on the Society for subsistence.

I would also like to read to you a letter which I received from Jeanes Hospital of which I am senior dermatologist dated November 11, 1959, and I will be happy to submit this for the record if you so desire:

“Dear Doctor.” This was mailed to every member of the staff. As you undoubtedly know, Doctor So-and-so died last Friday morning; due to his recent condition he incurred many bills, canceled most of his life insurance, and left his wife and four children in severe financial straits.

Mrs. So-and-so has certainly been in questionable physical condition along with her husband.

I am writing this letter in the hope that you would be willing to write a check for any amount you desire in order to assist in straightening out some of the financial needs that are urgent for the family. To date we have been given $15 from each of nine members of the courtesy staff and larger gifts from more active members of our regular staff.

If you will write your check to me and leave it at the hospital or mail it to my home, I will see that it is properly used for the purposes intendedand so on.

I would also like to present and put in the record two brochures, official publications entitled “The Aid Association of the Philadelphia County Medical Society.” This is the most recent one, dated 1959, and this one is dated 1956.

The preamble to this states: Object: The object of the aid association is benevolent, and the purpose for which it is formed is to afford aid to needy physicians and their families.

The CHAIRMAN. That was in 1956?
Dr. SCHOMBERG. And 1959. I just received this 1959 one last week.

Doctors are no different from anyone else, Mr. Chairman, they may be needy as are others.

The CHAIRMAN. We will examine them and we will either make them a part of the record or keep it in the files.

Dr. SCHOMBERG. Yes I will be happy to leave them here. I would like to read you two paragraphs from this report.

Our clientsmeaning the needy physicians aided by the Aid Association of the Philadelphia County Medical Societyhowever, practically never complain nor voluntarily ask for an increase in their allotment. Their inate pride and sincere desire not to be a further burden to the association was the reason given for not asking for more aid even when the need was great.

This, Mr. Chairman, is a physician, one of the group whom the American Medical Association claims does not need any help in handling its financial security. Another paragraph:

The problem of caring for elderly physician clients who now live alone and who are rapidly becoming so incapacitated that they are unable to take care of their physical needs is a serious one. Finding good nursing homes for them within our means is difficult.

I would also like to read excerpts of two letters from beneficiaries which appear in 1956 issue, and I quote:

May I try to express from my mother and myself our most grateful appreciation for your most generous holiday gift and all the help you have given us. With humble thanks and may God bless you.

And the second letter:

I want to thank you again for all your kindness, it has been a godsend, particularly the past 6 months for me.

This is apparently written by the doctor's wifehas given up the few patients he attended, and your check is his entire income.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Doctor.

(The documents referred to will be found in the files of the committee.)

The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Senator Harrison A. Williams, Jr., of New Jersey.

All right, Senator, we are glad to have you, sir, and you may proceed.


FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY Senator WILLIAMS. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to present an explanation of the amendment I introduced June 24, totogether with Senator Case of New Jersey, relating to the social security bill, H.R. 12580, pending before your committee.

I earnestly hope the committee will give its most serious consideration to this amendment or similar language, for if the present bill is enacted in its present form it will dash the hopes, the expectations and financial security of thousands of dedicated teachers and public employees in the State of New Jersey.

The bill now before you would, because of the interlocking nature of New Jersey law, reduce the retirement allowances of approximately 2,130 retired New Jersey teachers and 1,300 other retired New Jersey


public employees by an average of $1,300 a year for the teachers and $960 for the public employees.

It is an unusual and unfortunate fact that a bill which is intended to improve our social security system for the general population by reducing the number of quarters necessary to achieve fully insured status will, paradoxically, have a serious adverse effect on thousands of New Jersey teachers and public employees.

I would like to emphasize that this amendment does not add or detract from the cost of the social security bill. Nor does it affect any other beneficiaries of the legislation than those specific groups in New Jersey that I have mentioned.

It merely seeks to preserve the existing schedule of eligibility for these people who would be seriously hurt if the new reduced eligibility requirements come into effect.

It seeks to insure that these groups will be permitted to receive the benefits to which they are fully entitled, which they have been led to expect, and for which they have made important plans in their careers that cannot be changed easily or at all.

I will try to explain as simply as possible how this adverse effect can occur.

Because the laws of New Jersey provide for the integration of the Federal Social Security System with the New Jersey Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund and the New Jersey Public Employees' Retirement System, the State is permitted to reduce the amount of pension it owes to these groups of people by the amount of social security benefit for which the individual becomes eligible through New Jersey public employment.

Because of this provision, many teachers and public employees have retired or have planned their retirements in advance of the date on which they would become eligible for social security benefits as public employees, thus avoiding the reduction in their retirement allowances that would result if they earned the necessary number of quarters as public employees that would make them eligible for social security benefits.

They have retired early and have collected their pensions from the State of New Jersey with the expectation of seeking private employment for a time long enough to become eligible for social security.

Now, however, the pending bill proposes to reduce the number of quarters necessary for eligibility. So that, if the bill is passed in its present form a teacher who has retired, for example, having worked for only 19 quarters and needing 20 quarters to become fully insured as a public employee will now find that he needs only 10 quarters to become eligible or fully insured. Because he has worked 19 quarters as a public employee in New Jersey, he suddenly finds himself subject to the "offset" provision which permits the State to reduce his pension by the amount of his social security benefit.

Thus because of the changes in the Federal law and the interlocking nature of New Jersey law, 2,130 teachers who thought they were ineligible for social security as public employees when they retired will now find that they are eligible and thus subject to an average reduction of $1,300 in their retirement allowances when they reach the age of 65. The same holds true for a smaller number of public employees.

It is important to point out, Mr. Chairman, that these people have retired or planned their retirements early in accordance with wellpublicized instructions from the State itself in official retirement manuals.

These teachers were encouraged to join in this integrated system in 1955 on the basis that they would be able to collect their full benefits from both the State's retirement programs and the Federal Social Security. They were led to believe this, and they were quoted specific retirement allowances predicated upon carefully arranged retirement schedules. And, of course, not being intimately aware of the intricate ramifications of this problem, they did not anticipate that changes in the Federal law would jeopardize their expectations and financial security.

To demonstrate the situation as it actually exists, I would like to point out that in the manual prepared in 1957 by the Division of Pensions of the New Jersey Department of Treasury, entitled "Public Employees' Retirement System of New Jersey” there appears this notation:

No reduction is made in the Public Employees' Retirement System allowance at age 65 if the member does not qualify for social security benefits as a result of public employment alone. Generally, the ability to avoid this reduction depends upon the member's age and date of retirement. Separate “avoid” dates may be obtained from the personnel office of each employer.

Likewise, the State's manual on the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund, dated September 1, 1959, states that:

When a member retired (after December 1954) reaches age 65, or upon retirement of a member age 65 or beyond, the fund will reduce the pension portion of his retirement allowance by the amount of social security he is entitled to receive by virtue of his public employment in the State of New Jersey after January 1, 1955. (See the schedule which indicates the number of years needed in New Jersey public employment after January 1, 1955, before a pension allowance becomes subject to offset (reduction), also example of how the offset is applied.)

Mr. Chairman, I would like to request that the retirement schedule, as it appears in both the publications I have mentioned, be included in the record with my remarks so that committee members might see how explicit the instructions are that the teachers and public employees have been encouraged to follow in order that they might avoid this serious reduction in their anticipated retirement allowance.

Let me just express my earnest hope, Mr. Chairman, that this committee will act favorably on the proposal suggested by the amendment Senator Case and I have introduced to prevent a beneficial change in the existing law from inflicting a severe injustice on two of the most important segments of New Jersey's citizenry-its teachers and public servants.

« PreviousContinue »