The Great Society: Lessons for the Future

By Eli Ginzberg; Robert M. Solow | Go to book overview
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Major public initiatives in health care


To set the stage for discussing certain major public initiatives in the 1960's, a few selected figures are presented. Table 1 shows the amounts spent on health care in this country, the continuing increase in the ratio of health care expenditures to the Gross National Product, and the fraction of the total met by public funds, which had remained steady at one quarter for 15 years but increased in recent years, to three eighths.

Perhaps more striking is Table 2, which shows a sharp acceleration in the annual rate of change in expenditures after 1966. However, the rate of increase of eight per cent in the preceding intervals was not small.

Official figures for fiscal year 1973, ending June 30, are not yet available. Scattered evidence indicates that the amount spent will have exceeded $90 billion, despite the fact that the Economic Stablilization Program of the Nixon Administration singled out the health services industry for special attention.

It is fair to caution the reader that public programs in health are usually programs in health services, and that this should be kept in mind when reviewing the data. Excluded from the official scope of health care expenditures are such items as medical education outside the hospital, water supply, water pollution control, and solid waste


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