Frequently physicians ask if the general cost of living has risen faster or slower than a fee or service rate charged by physicians. A rather satisfactory answer is provided for the thirty-four large cities in which field representatives of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gather sample data monthly or quarterly. Their compilations for 1947 have been made available.
Except for hospital items, the index of the cost of living (now called "consumers' price index for moderate-income families") for 1947 was higher than the index of any reported medical care item.
The chart shows the indexes for 1946 and 1947. The sharp rise in hospital rates is noteworthy. In each section of the chart the consumers' price index for 1947, 159.2, is shown as a horizontal line. It should be noted that the index for "medical care and drugs combined" for 1947 is 131.6 and for medical care excluding drugs,