Americans are getting more and better medical care for the same proportion of their budget. This conclusion is reached in an analysis of personal consumer expenditures for medical care and for other items in the consumer's budget presented by the Bureau of Medical Economic Research on page 1354 of this issue.1 The proportion of the consumer's budget spent for medical care in the last 20 years has hovered around 4%. Over the 20-year period the physicians' average share of the "medical care dollar" fell 12%, from 31.8 cents to 28.1 cents; the hospitals' share rose 66%, from 13.9 cents to 23.1 cents. Since the commonly used base period, 1935-1939, the physicians' share of the medical care dollar fell 10% while the hospitals' share rose 37%.
Medical care prices have lagged considerably behind all prices as measured by the Consumers' Price Index since 1935-1939. Average weekly earnings in manufacturing have
MEDICAL CARE EXPENDITURES. JAMA. 1951;147(14):1361. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670310051018