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ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We even we here-hold the power and bear the responsibility. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last, best hope of earth.”
Dr. MORGAN. I want to begin by congratulating this subcommittee and expressing our appreciation.
The statement with which the hearing was opened this morning seems to me to express wonderfully the situation as it exists.
I would like to point out two things: That this complex situation in which we find ourselves is not the result of any purpose or intention on the part of anyone. It is the inescapable consequence of the nature of our evolution into an industrial civilization and it will tend to get worse before it gets better.
The other point I want to stress is that it is not basically a discouraging situation. It is a situation that should give rise to optimism
a because it arises out of superabundance. We have this tendency to disemploy older people because our economy has reached a level of efficiency where it is apparently possible to get along without older people in our wage-earning occupations.
Now, my personal background has been in organization. I gave 34 years of my life to the National Education
Association, as head of its publications and as founder and editor of its journal and helped with many other organizations during the first half of this century.
As I approached retirement myself in 1954, I wanted to find the greatest need in America and give the rest of my life to working on that task without pay. After a survey of the situation, I concluded that the greatest need and the greatest opportunity in our country existed among this growing body of older men and women. So a group of us got together in 1954 and established Senior Citizens of America, which is incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.
I brought these four volumes here and a part of a fifth volume because I wanted you to see the outcome of those 5 years of effort.
We have been able to bring together with the help of many people the finest body of material that exists in this field and are beginning to get some grasp of the problems that it involves.
We have a national organization. Our material is in libraries throughout the country. We serve a unique place in that we cut across all the other specialized groups. The welfare people are working in this field; the educational people are working in it; the church people are working in it; the libraries are working in it; the schools are working in it; labor is working in it. Senior Citizens of America cuts across all those groups and brings together in one cohesive national organization a clearinghouse that can help to serve and to vitalize all of them.
We now have a fairly strong national organization, in its beginnings, it is true. We have Štate directors in most of the States. We have one State branch in South Carolina and are moving forward with the organization of branches in other States. We have some 30 affiliated local groups and the local affiliations are growing steadily.
It is our purpose to continue the process of building and, in doing that, the emphasis is not on what we can get. The emphasis is on what we can give.
We may have in this country a superabundance of labor in the economy. We shall never have a superabundance of service in citizenship. There will always be plenty of problems, plenty of tasks, plenty of things that need to be done in the community, in the State, in the Nation, and in the larger world of which we are a part to use all the talent and all the perspective and all the vision, and courage, that our older people can supply.
Senator McNAMARA. Let me interrupt for just a minute at this point, Doctor. I am sure you want to know that we have a visiting delegation here this morning under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of International Labor Affairs. We are very happy to have with us in the room a group of Tunisian Trade Union leaders who are here on a tour.
Is somebody from the Labor Department with them?
The INTERPRETER. I am just an interpreter, sir. There is no representative of the Department of Labor here. We are just translating what is going on in this room.
Senator McNAMARA. We would be happy to have you introduce them and, if you care to rise, we can recognize them all at once.
We are so glad you are here. We will furnish the names of the visitors to the recorder and see that they appear at this point. Thank you very much. We are glad to have you here. (The list referred to follows:)
TUNISIA TRADE UNION LEADERSHIP TRAINING PIO 64-41-023_1-90037
Almed Ben Chedli Amara, UGTT, 29 Place M'hamed Ali, Tunis, Tunisia; age 25; general secretary, trade union section, concession services, Sousse.
Elalai Hassouna Ben Tahar, UGTT, 29 Place M'hamed Ali, Tunis, Tunisia ; age 44; general secretary, Federation of Mine Workers of Tunisia.
Abdelazia Herelli, Rue d'Alsace, Hamman-Lif, Tunisia ; age 40; general secretary, Federation of Railway Workers.
Khamais (Chadli) Ben Abderrehman Jebbari, UGTT, 29 Place M'hamed Ali, Tunis, Tunisia; age 36; general secretary, Federation of Workers in Food Industry.
Houcine Bouselini Ouaness, UGTT, 29 Place M'hamed Ali, Tunis, Tunisia ; age 33; general secretary, regional trade union of mine workers at Bizerte; employed at the mine at Dhouahria.
Dr. MORGAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am honored to know that these people are here. We have a considerable contact around the world. People come to our office from the various countries.
The president of a similar organization in Japan was in the other day. The problem is more difficult there than here.
Another gentleman was in from Malaya and I was interested to find that their retirement age was not 65 but 55, their lifespan being shorter than ours is in this country.
CHANGE IN ATTITUDES TOWARD THE AGED
We have been working intensively for 5 years on this problem. It is the most difficult thing I have ever given myself to and the most rewarding because we see older people, who had thought they were on the shelf, begin to come to life. We see communities that were asleep
begin to wake up. We see new attitudes developing toward employment and new devices developing which will give employment to older people. We see a revolution in the idea of how older people should be housed.
These new homes for senior citizens are evolving into an entirely better and different type of thing from what we have had in the past.
We see a new attitude developing among doctors toward the care of older people. We see the schools beginning to awaken to the possibilities of education in this field.
Basically this is an educational problem. As we face the years ahead, there is nothing we can do unless somebody learns something new. Whether it is in labor or education or politics or world affairs, our hope, our main hope must be in education.
I am glad to see on this program the Adult Education Association because I think they carry a very large measure of responsibility:
We see the different attitude that is represented here in the hearing before this congressional committee. We believe that the problems, or what we define as problems, can all be solved. We can properly provide for the financing of the later years—in our rich country we cannot afford not to do so. We can provide for proper housing. We can provide a health protection, and probably the most urgent problem is to provide the kind of health protection that will remove the fear of the later years.
We believe that when we have done all of those things we still have to move ahead into a program which will make the later years significant and full of meaning and worth while.
We believe that the richest opportunity is in devoting these later years largely to voluntary civic service. I think that, Mr. Chairman, will be the major contribution of Senior Citizens of America. With what is in my typewrittten statement this covers our testimony.
Senator MCNAMARA. Thank you very much, Doctor. I am sure that your statement will be very helpful to us.
I want to congratulate you on the long service that you have put in in the formation and operation of the Senior Citizens of America. Your work is going to make it a little easier for us because we will profit from your experience in this area.
We would be glad to have you stay, if you have time, and enter into the questions or discussions that might follow.
We have from the National Association of Retired Civil Employees, Mr. Joseph Spilman, first vice president.
Mr. Spilman, we will be glad to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH L. SPILMAN, FIRST VICE PRESIDENT,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED CIVIL EMPLOYEES
Mr. SPILMAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Joseph L. Spilman. I am first vice president of the National Association of Retired Civil Employees.
I am not a specialist in the field of gerontology, as Dr. Cowan has said before me. Most of my experience has come in the field of personnel administration. I spent some 43 years of my life working for the Federal Government and in the course of that time I have had considerable opportunity to observe some of the problems in this particular field.
Now I have prepared a short statement which I will use as the basis of my remarks and which I wish would be incorporated in the record.
First, briefly, our Association of Retired Civil Employees has the primary objective of promoting the general welfare of annuitants and potential annuitants of the Federal Government. It was organized early in 1921, shortly after the Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 became effective, with 14 charter members here in the District of Columbia. Our present membership is over 98,000, organized into 730 chapters and 25 State federations. These chapters are located in every State, the Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Republic of the Philippines. Individual members also reside in 40 foreign countries.
Although originally our objectives were largely confined to promoting the general welfare of annuitants and potential annuitants of the civilian public service, particularly in the field of legislation, we have enlarged them in recent times to include the problems, welfare, and status of all the aged and aging in our Nation and cooperation with public agencies, private organizations and individuals devoted to those aims.
NARCE'S HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY Recognizing the need for adequate health insurance, our association negotiated a contract more than 2 years ago, after much effort, with the Continental Casualty Co. of Chicago, whereby at a cost of $6 per month per individual or $12 per month for hushand and wife, our members received the benefits of a hospital-surgical plan providing room and board benefits at $10 a day for 31 days; miscellaneous hospital expenses up to $120; outpatient emergency care up to $120; and surgical benefits up to $200. At the request of our association, in the light of experience during the past 2 years, a review has been made recently of the rates and an increase has been granted in the first named benefit from $10 to $13 per day, and in the second and third benefits from $120 to $130 without any increase in the premiums. ·
The claims filed in the 23 months have averaged 'about 860 per month. The average claim has been modest-less than $200. The fact that 39,000 of our members and 13,000 dependents are members of our hospital-surgical plan certainly points up the need for it. We assume that the experience with probably the largest single group of senior citizens gathered in one association has influenced the Continental and other large companies in soliciting, through almost nationwide advertising campaigns, those over 65 years of age to buy policies similar to ours and with benefits and rates similar but less favorable.
Senator McNAMARA. Let me interrupt you at that point. You make reference here to other companies as well as Continental entering this insurance field. We are very much interested in that phase of it.
You say that these other companies are coming out with plans now for people 65 and over. That raises the question: What is the average age of the group that is covered?
Mr. SPILMAN. That would be a very difficult question to answer. We have no figures on that, Senator, but, of course, most of our folks are over 60 years of age. We are satisfied with our contract. One of the reasons why we found it so urgent to do this was that so few of our folks could get the advantage of health insurance. There is no physical examination. The policy is noncancelable, and it has been
our experience that the Continental Casualty pays very, very promptly.
Senator McNAMARA. Are these group policies for retired people only or do they cover your membership?
Nr. SPILMAN. Our membership are only retirees.
Senator McNAMARA. The same policy did not apply to these people before they reached retirement age. That is a different group policy?
Mr. SPILMAN. That is right.
Mr. SPILMAN. Although we think that the contract is a very advantageous one for our membership, we felt that it would be to our advantage to have the coverage of S. 2162 enlarged to include persons already retired under the Civil Service Retirement Act, subject to the same conditions as were set forth for future retirees. In hoping for this action and being ever mindful of the importance placed upon the cost of such legislation, we were pleased and encouraged by our experience with the Continental Casualty Co.
The Senate, acting on the recommendation of the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee which “explored the matter in great detail,” did not include present retirees. We understand that a study of this problem is underway and we hope that it will be possible to to enact legislation by a separate bill covering present retirees to be effective July 1, 1960. In the event present civil service retirees are not covered by legislation making available health insurance for them on the same basis or substantially the same basis as future retirees under S. 2162, large groups of these employees already retired may be penalized by that proposed bill because they may lose such health insurance as they now have, or if they do not lose it, the premium for continuing this insurance may be greatly increased and become so high that it will be difficult to continue it. Furthermore, new employees would not be interested in joining the previously established groups and such groups would retain only the retirees as members.
Next to the question of health, we consider the most important factor to be considered in problems affecting the aged and the aging is that of income. According to the U.S. Civil Service Commission's Annual Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1958, the average annual annuity for all retirees was $153 per month. In the present inflationary era, this means that many older folks must augment their income by employment or deprive themselves of things which are today considered necessities of life.
Although public officials strongly urge, particularly around Labor Day, full employment of older people over 45 generally, not only as a humanitarian measure but also as a practical matter to utilize the full skills of our population, they quite often do not practice what they preach. The number of older employees promoted even in the Government service becomes less and less and primary emphasis on academic achievement, speaking ability, and youthful agility becomes more pronounced. It may be true that the space age and the prospect of early efforts for an ascent to the moon understandably call for the optimum in physical capacity. However, there is no indication at the present time that a large part of our population will be included in such an expedition in the near future. There are still problems on the earth to be solved in which senior citizens by reason of their experience can render worthwhile service.