Problems of the Hospitals

January 16, 1963

Report Outline
Indequacy of Present Hospital Capacity
Mounting Cost of Operating Hospitals
Changes in Financing of Patient Care

Indequacy of Present Hospital Capacity

Senate Passage this year of legislation embodying the administration's plan for financing hospital and nursing home care of the aged through the social security system was predicted as the first session of the 88th Congress got under way. Although few persons expected similar action by the House of Representatives, administration forces were nevertheless prepared to make another fight for the measure which failed to get through either House last year.

President Kennedy in his State of the Union message, Jan. 14, again endorsed the “retirement health program” financed through social security. Safeguarding of the nation's health required also, he said, a reversal of “the growing nation-wide shortage of doctors, dentists and nurses, and the widespread shortages of nursing homes and modern urban hospital facilities.”

While controversy over the health care proposal goes on, provision of federal aid to help needy old people pay medical bills is being expanded under a program authorized toward the end of the Eisenhower administration. And private insurance companies are putting into force new plans for extending coverage of health insurance to the high-risk older population groups. All these developments, combined with increases in total population and in the proportion of older people, presage a steady growth of demand for medical care that is likely to put severe pressure on the country's hospitals. The aged make twice as much use of hospitals as younger persons. Whenever the economic barrier to hospitalization has been lifted, the age differential among hospital patients has become more marked.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Nov. 14, 1980  The Hospice Movement
Jan. 16, 1963  Problems of the Hospitals
Nov. 17, 1948  Financial Problems of Voluntary Hospitals