The Social Security Administration reported that Medicare, "in most respects, has worked well from the beginning."
Social Security Commissioner Robert Ball conceded that there are problems left to be ironed out and that hospital costs rose higher than expected during Medicare's first year of operation. As a result the Part A plan will cost some 5% more than the estimated $2.4 billion.
Still to be decided is whether the $3 premium for the voluntary Part B plan will have to be hiked, he said. The administration's recommendations for raising the taxable wage base for Social Security will be adequate to handle the hospital end of Medicare cost, Ball told reporters.
There have been more than five million hospital admissions involving four million aged persons, with $2.4 billion paid to hospitals.
• There has been a 15% to 20% increase in hospital utilization by the aged (5% overall).