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The House Ways and Means Committee heard several predictions as it opened hearings on the administration's proposals to expand Medicare and other Social Security benefits.In addition to increasing cash benefits, the administration's measure would extend the Medicare program to cover persons receiving Social Security disability payments, add podiatrists' services, and make numerous expansions of child health programs.Discussing hospital costs, Robert J. Myers, Social Security actuary, told the Committee that hospital costs rose 11.5% in the six months after Medicare took effect last summer. The increase in hospital costs relative to earnings in 1965, he said, averaged about 5.4%. For 1966 the rise will be an expected 6.1% above 1965.When the Medicare bill was before Congress, a yearly boost of 2.7% was predicted, Mr. Myers said.Officials have blamed the increase on generally rising hospital costs and higher wages, and not on the impact of Medicare.
WASHINGTON NEWS. JAMA. 1967;199(13):31-33. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120130011003