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OPERATION MEDICARE ALERT

OF MICHIGAN

BEFORE THE

Q

NOV 14 1966
064

HEARING
15
5134 SUBCOMMITTEE ON

FEDERAL, STATE, AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
1966 a

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING

UNITED STATES SENATE

OF THE

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For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office

Washington, D.C. 20402 - Price 30 cents

S OF A

NEEDS FOR SERVICES REVEALED BY OPERATION

MEDICARE ALERT

THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 1966

U.S. SENATE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON FEDERAL, STATE, AND COMMUNITY SERVICES OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to call, in room G-308 (auditorium), New Senate Office Building, Senator Edward M. Kennedy (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Senators Kennedy, Yarborough, Young, Randolph, Prouty, and Allott.

Committee staff members present: J. William Norman, staff director; John Guy Miller, minority staff director; and Patricia G. Slinkard, chief clerk.

Senator KENNEDY. The subcommittee will come to order. Today, this Subcommittee on Federal, State, and Community Services of the Special Committee on Aging is pleased to welcome Mr. Sargent Shriver, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Dr. Harold Sheppard of the Upjohn Research Institute and member of the Office of Economic Opportunity Task Force on Programs for Older Persons, and the many public spirited elderly citizens who participated in Medicare Alert.

Both the Office of Economic Opportunity and the thousands who were involved in Medicare Alert are to be complimented on the success of the program. As the Medicare books closed last Monday night, it was estimated that 90 percent of the eligible citizens were enrolled in the voluntary Medicare program.

This special session of the subcommittee was called today for many interrelated reasons.

Basically, it is important for this committee, and indeed the Senate, to hear from the elderly the problems of the elderly with less than adequate financial means. We have representatives with us today of the 14,000 older persons who entered the homes, the rooms, and even the shacks of the 7 million poor over the age of 65.

What the Medicare Alert people saw and experienced is worth telling not only because it may be dramatic and emotional but also because we have yet to shake the belief that the American aged are provided for by one means or another.

The picture that many of us have of the elderly is more influenced by what we hope is the case than what is in fact the case. One out of five of all the poor are elderly. These poor are quiet, more hidden, and cause fewer overt social problems than the rest. If their condition resulted in crime, or demonstrations, or was considered detrimental to technological advance or the growth of the economy, the Nation would take notice and action would result.

Of equal importance today are the questions of what can be done with the older Americans who took part in Medicare Alert and how the experience gathered under that program can be utilized. Through Medicare Alert we have discovered a new source of dedicated and capable people that could be directed for the public good.

It is fair to say that Medicare Alert has not only done more for the elderly than any other Federal service activity, but it has also raised the hopes of the elderly that they, too, can participate in the national program to eliminate poverty. It is important that their hopes not be lightly treated and that we move ahead and call for greater elderly assistance in meeting our national needs.

This committee recently concluded extensive hearings on the War on Poverty as it affects older Americans. A committee report will soon be released containing many recommendations which, if followed, would constitute a major advance in this area. Yet the nagging question of the role of the elderly in the poverty program remains.

In my own view, the Office of Economic Opportunity has been one of the most outstanding agencies of Government since its inception in 1964. The problems that it has faced would have crippled lesser agencies and men, yet the War on Poverty continues—and it continues with great success. But the elderly have always felt an exclusion from this national effort, despite statements to the contrary from the OEO, and continuous congressional interest.

It is my hope that our first witness, Mr. Shriver, will once again clarify the position of the OEO on this matter. If the lack of full emphasis on the elderly in the poverty program is a matter of inadeqate financing then it is the responsibility of Congress to rectify that situation. If OEO feels that regardless of funding, the elderly poor should be treated in other agencies and by other legislated means, that, too, will clarify congressional responsibility.

Whatever the approach needed it is apparent that a basic decision must be made in the very near future to assure us that the concerns and needs of a major segment of our population will be met.

I want to state that the committee is delighted to have Mr. Shriver, the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, once again before the committee and also Harold Sheppard, who is the staff

social scientist of the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Washington.

We welcome you to the committee. We appreciate the interest that you have demonstrated in the past and we are particularly delighted to welcome you and your associates.

Mr. Shriver, would you be kind enuogh to introduce your associates who are with you here today.

1 "The War on Poverty As It Affects Older Americans." S. Rept. 1287, June 20, 1966, available from the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Washington, D.C.

STATEMENT OF SARGENT SHRIVER, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF ECO

NOMIC OPPORTUNITY, ACCOMPANIED BY HYMAN H. BOOK. BINDER, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUNCILS AND ORGANIZATIONS; DONALD HESS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, POLICY PLANNING; WALTER WILLIAMS, ECONOMIST, RESEARCH AND PLANS DIVISION, R.P.P. & E.; ROBERT MCCAN, CONSULTANT ON AGING, COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM

Mr. SHRIVER. Yes, Mr. Chairman.

Let me express my pleasure at being here personally and introduce to you on my right Mr. Hyman Bookbinder, who is Assistant Director of OEO in charge of our relationships with national organizations and councils, public officials, the poor, and of existing groups of that type in our national life.

On my left is Don Hess, who is in charge of program planning within the community action part of the War Against Poverty.

Next to him is Walt Williams, who has been for quite a while working for us in this particular area of the aging, and next to Walt is Bob McCan, who has also been serving at OEO on the problems of the aging and related matters.

Senator KENNEDY. Very good.
(Mr. Shriver's prepared statement follows:)

PREPARED STATEMENT OF DIRECTOR R. SARGENT SHRIVER Mr. Chairman, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed May as Senior Citizen's Month. At the close of this period of special emphasis, I join with others in paying respect to 1842 million older Americans. All of us need to be appreciative of the contributions of our seniors and sensitive to the special needs of this age group.

Across the land the American people are thinking about the problems of aging. America cares, America is concerned, America is dedicated to improving the lot of its senior citizens. But most of all, as Director of the Anti-Poverty Program, I am concerned with the unmet needs of the millions of Americans over age 65 who are economically deprived and often socially alienated. When one is older and poor, he tends to be rejected by those in the mainstream of life.

All of us too easily overlook this vast group of the hidden poor. I wish to do three things, Mr. Chairman, in my testimony today: I shall report on progress being made within OEO in providing for older Americans. I shall set the problems of older poor Americans in a larger perspective. I shall share with you the present emphasis on programming for this age group which our staff feels is appropriate for the present circumstances.

The Office of Economic Opportunity has been doing a great deal since my last report to you on January 19. Let me share some highlights of what is being accomplished for older Americans.

HEALTH AIDE PROGRAM The Community Action Program is about to embark on a major Health Aides Program. The project which is just beginning will be funded for approximately $20 million. This is a program to recruit, select, train, and place nonprofessional workers. The project will employ poor persons who are 45 years and older, including a large number of the older poor. Moreover, a significant proportion of the services provided by the health aides will be directed to the senior citizens who are home-bound.

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