Costs: Up, Up, Up

At Boston's Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, the daily rate for semiprivate rooms is now $50—almost twice the rate ten years ago. At Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital, it costs $410 to have a baby, compared with $250 in 1957. At Houston's Methodist Hospital, patients are billed 25% more for anesthesia than in 1962. Everywhere, the story is the same (see graph). While the consumer price index rose 19% in the decade ending last year, U.S. medical costs shot up 42%. Just since 1966, hospital charges have jumped 18%.

In one sense, President Johnson's bright hopes for Medicare have been met: the...

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