Medicine: The Price of Health

U.S. families spend an average of about $300 a year on health care, and total outlays have increased sharply in recent years. The Health Information Foundation reported this week that analysis of a 1957-58 study showed annual family expenditures at $294, a 42% increase in five years. Physicians' services made up 34% of health-care costs; hospitals, 23%; drugs and medications, 20%; dental services, 15%; miscellaneous (spectacles, other appliances and special nursing), 8%.

Some, but surprisingly little, of the $87 increase since 1952 has been due to rising costs (mainly for hospital services, up 34%). Most of the boost is due, said the...

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