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Highlights

Medicare was established to protect the elderly against the costs of inpatient hospital care. The proposed Comprehensive Health Insurance Act of 1974 (CHIP) would combine parts A and B of Medicare and would modify Medicare's cost-sharing formulas and limit beneficiaries' liability based on income. The proposed National Health Insurance Act of 1974 (Kennedy-Mills proposal) would leave the Medicare cost-sharing formula essentially the same but would limit the beneficiaries' liability based on income. The proposed Catastrophic Health Insurance and Medical Assistance Reform Act (Long-Ribicoff proposal) would, essentially, supplement Medicare's existing benefits by covering catastrophic illnesses. Both the CHIP and the Kennedy-Mills proposal would use credit cards (program payments would be made in full to participating providers, such as hospitals, on behalf of beneficiaries).

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