• U.S.

Medicine: Capsules, Apr. 11, 1955

2 minute read

¶ A major extension of insurance to cover long-term illnesses now excluded was approved at a joint Chicago meeting of Blue Cross (hospitalization) and Blue Shield (medical care) representatives. By year’s end, most of the autonomous local plans are expected to offer combination policies (for extra premiums of about $1 a month for an individual, $2 to $3 for a family) to provide up to two years of care for long-lasting disorders now excluded, e.g., mental illness, tuberculosis, incurable cancer, alcoholism. Most plans now exclude these illnesses, and limit protection to about 70 days’ care for acute conditions. Policyholders will still have to pay 20% of the costs out of their own pockets.

¶Patients are “alarmed by the confusion and the cost of a system in which the doctor competes with the hospital for the patient’s pocketbook,” Dr. Basil C. MacLean, New York City Commissioner of Hospitals, told the New England Hospital Assembly in Boston. Furthermore, said MacLean, some hospitals seem “to be designed on the pattern of a clip-joint nightclub,” charging as much as 60¢ for a couple of aspirin tablets that they buy at 60¢ per 1,000. “If the voluntary hospital system is to continue,” warned MacLean, “shock therapy is needed to cure it of its schizophrenia.”

¶Beer drinkers who have always argued that their favorite beverage is a “food” and full of health-giving nutrients found academically respectable confirmation in a book by German Physiologist Wilhelm Stepp. A quart of beer from his area, said Dr. Stepp, contains at least a man’s daily requirements of several B vitamins, plus phosphorus and amino acids. Dr. Stepp practices in Munich.

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