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or power of attorney: Provided, That nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the Surgeon General from delegating such power by order or by power of attorney in his discretion, to any officer, agent, or employee he may appoint.
"(j) DEFAULT OR PAYMENT; RIGHTS OF PARTIES.—In the event that a mortgage insured under this title becomes in default through failure of the mortgagor to make any payment due under or provided be paid by the terms of the mortgage and such mortgage continues in default for a period of thirty days, but the mortgagee does not foreclose on or otherwise acquire the property, or does not assign and transfer such mortgage and the credit instrument secured thereby to the Surgeon General, in accordance with subsection (d), and the Surgeon General is given written notice thereof, or in the event that the mortgagor pays the obligation under the mortgage in full prior to the maturity thereof, and the mortgagee pays any adjusted premium charge required under the provisions of subsection (c), and the Surgeon General is given written notice by the mortgagee of the payment of such obligation, the obligation to pay the annual premium charge for insurance shall cease, and all rights of the mortgagee and the mortgagor under this title shall terminate as of the date of such notice.
“(k) REISSUE OF PRIOR INSURANCE.--The Surgeon General, with the consent of the mortgagee and the mortgagor of a mortgage insured under this title prior to
19, shall be empowered to reissue such mortgage insurance in accordance with the provisions of this section.
“(1) CREDITS CHARGES TO MEDICAL FACILITIES MORTGAGE INSURANCE FUND.—Premium charges, adjusted premium charges, and appraisal and other fees, received on account of the insurance of any mortgage insured under this title, the receipts derived from any such mortgage or claim assigned to the Surgeon General and from any property acquired by the Surgeon General and all earnings on the assets of the Medical Facilities Mortgage Insurance Fund, shall be credited to the Medical Facilities Mortgage Insurance Fund. The principal of and interest paid and to be paid on debentures issued in exchange for any mortgage or property insured under this title, cash adjustments, and expenses incurred in the handling of such mortgages of property and in the foreclosure and collection of mortgages and claims assigned to the Surgeon General under this section shall be charged to the Medical Facilities Mortgage Insurance Fund.
"(n) INVESTMENT OF FUNDS.—Moneys in the Medical Facilities Mortgage Insurance Fund not needed for current operations of this title shall be deposited with the Treasurer of the United States to the credit of the Medical Facilities Mortgage Insurance Fund or invested in bonds or other obligations of, or in bonds or other obligations guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the United States. The Surgeon General may, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, purchase in the open market debentures issued under the provisions of this section. Such purchases shall be made at a price which will provide an investment yield of not less than the yield obtainable from other investments authorized by this subsection. Debentures so purchased shall be canceled and not reissued.
"DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION
"SEC. 708. The Surgeon General is hereby authorized and directed, to collect and make available, through publications and other appropriate means, information and statistics pertaining to medical facilities, insurance of mortgages under this title, the operations of group practice prepayment health service plans, the operations of health service associations, the provisions of health service contracts, and the scope of personal health services available thereunder.
“SEC. 709. This title may be cited as the 'Medical Facilities Mortage Insurance Act of 1954'."
SEC. 2. (a) Section 1 of the Public Health Service Act is amended by striking out "VI" and inserting in lieu thereof "VII”.
(b) The Act of July 1, 1944 (58 Stat. 682), is amended by changing the numbers of title VII to title VIII and by changing the numbers of sections 701 to 712, inclusive, and references thereto, to sections 801 to 812, respectively.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE,
Washington, April 8, 1954. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D.C. DEAR Mr. CHAIRMAN : This letter is in reply to your request of February 4, 1954, for a report on H. R. 7700, a bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide mortgage loan insurance for hospitals and medical facilities used in connection with voluntary prepayment health plans.
The bill would establish a self-sustaining revolving fund, to be called the medical facilities mortgage insurance fund, to insure first mortgages made to finance the construction, improvement, or equipment of several kinds of medical facilities. Administration of this fund and of the functions to which it is related would be vested in the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, under the supervision and direction of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
The technical mortgage insurance provisions are closely patterned on the statutes authorizing the mortgage insurance program of the Federal Housing Administration. The fund would have an initial allocation of $2,500,000 and would be augmented by premium charges for mortgage insurance at a rate not in excess of 112 percent. Annual appropriations as necessary and borrowing authority are also provided for. The aggregate mortgages could not exceed $1 billion at any time. This ceiling could, however, be raised by an additional $250 million by Presidential action.
No one mortgage could be insured if it involved a principal obligation in excess of $5 million or in excess of 90 percent of the value of the property or project. Annual interest, exclusive of premium charges for insurance, could not exceed 612 percent, and each mortgage would be required to contain amortization arrangements within the mortgagor's reasonable ability to pay. Any responsible lending institution or source of private capital would be eligible for mortgage insurance under this program, and the mortgages insured could cover property acquired or constructed by "a nonprofit private agency, a health service association, or any group, partnership, or other association of physicians, or any other organization or individual for use as a medical facility ** *."
Mortgage insurance would be available for hospitals, diagnostic or treatment centers, personal health service centers, rehabilitation facilities, and physicians' and dentists' offices, and for the central service facilities connected with them. Insurance of a mortgage with respect to any of these types of facilities would be conditioned upon the existence of a contractual agreement that at least 60 percent of the capacity of the proposed medical facility would "be available to serve subscribers to group practice prepayment health service plans.”
The Surgeon General would be authorized to collect and make available information and statistics pertaining to medical facilities, mortgage insurance under the bill, the operation of group practice prepayment plans, the operation of health service associations, and the scope of personal health services available thereunder.
For the purposes of this report, the bill may be considered under three main headings: (1) The objectives, purposes, and scope of the proposed mortgage insurance program; (2) feasibility of the program; and (3) responsibility for administration of the program.
1. OBJECTIVES, PURPOSES, AND SCOPE OF PROGRAM
The bill (sec. 701) contains both a “declaration of policy" and a “declaration of purpose.”
The declaration of policy emphasizes “the serious need throughout the country for a greater number of hospitals and related medical facilities." The need for hospital beds and medical facilities is a real and present one. My testimony before your committee on the proposed amendments to the Hospital Survey and Construction Act presented estimates as to the extent of need for certain types of facilities. The passage by the House of Representatives of H. R. 8149 reflects the concern of your committee and the House for meeting this need in the areas where it is most acute.
The declaration of policy also recites that “extension of voluntary, prepayment health plans offers an effective way for better distribution of health services and costs." We concur in this conclusion. As you know, the extension and the improvement of sound voluntary health service prepayment plans is the purpose of the administration's reinsurance proposal, embodied in H. R. 8356, which is now
being considered by your committee. We believe that voluntary, self-supporting prepayment plans can provide the means for making good medical care available at reasonable cost to a much larger proportion of our population than is now covered by such plans, and that the extension of such coverage is highly desirable.
Finally, the declaration of purposes contained in the bill includes the following:
“(3) To increase the opportunities and facilities by which doctors may associate themselves together in groups, partnerships, and other private initiative arrangements of their own choosing, in order to broaden the distribution of high quality medical care through general practitioners and specialists working together, making the most efficient use of medical skills, facilities, and equipment, and emphasizing preventive medicine, detection of disease and early diagnosis."
This particular purpose of the bill appears to be designed to foster what is generally referred to as “group practice.” Our Department is fully cognizant of the advantages, in terms of improving quality, accessibility, and economy in the provision of medical care, that can flow from good group practice arrangements.
Turning to the operative provisions of the bill, one of the most important is section 706 (d). This provision appears to orient the bill principally toward the promotion of group practice prepayment plans. Section 706 (d) is to the effect that no mortgage shall be accepted for insurance unless the mortgagor has entered into an agreement whereby not less than 60 percent of the medical facilities will be available to serve subscribers through group practice prepayment plans. This provision has the significant effect of confining the benefits of the bill to borrowers who(1) undertake to use the facilities in connection with prepayment plans which
provide medical services (as distinct from cash reimbursement and various
other types of voluntary prepayment plans), and (2) provide such services through physicians organized on a group practice
basis (as distinct from the provision of medical care through individual
practitioners or other patterns of medical practice). Recognizing the value of such arrangements, we see no justification for having the Federal Government thus favor one pattern of voluntary prepayment plan and one pattern of medical practice to the exclusion of all other sound approaches to the general problem of making good medical care accessible to the people.
If section 706 (d) and related provisions were deleted so as clearly to orient the bill toward encouragement, without discrimination, of the private financing of needed health service facilities, we would favor the proposal in principle, provided that the feasibility of the proposal as a self-sustaining program could be demonstrated. This administration has shown its interest in the construction of medical facilities by its support of outright grants under the hospital survey and construction program. It seems clear that such interest would all the more extend to any self-financing program under which the Federal Government would stimulate the construction of medical facilities. If the device of Federal mortgage loan insurance, which has successfully stimulated private investment in the construction of housing, is feasible in connection with the provision of needed health facilities, we see no reason why it should not be adopted for this purpose.
2. FEASIBILITY AS A SELF-FINANCING PROGRAM
What we have said about our endorsement, in principle, of a mortgage loan insurance program directed broadly to the alleviation of shortages in health facilities is subject to a determination that such a program would in fact be selfsustaining and would not require subsidization from general revenues. This is true because, insofar as subsidies are justifiable in this field, we believe that they are and should be (as under H. R. 8119) provided for, on a priority-of-need basis, in the program of grants-in-aid for nonprofit facilities under the hospital survey and construction provisions of the Public Health Service Act.
On the basis of such evidence as has thus far come to our attention, we are not yet persuaded that sound mortgage loan insurance can be effectively applied, or applied on a broad enough basis, to the construction of needed hospitals and related medical facilities to achieve the objectives we have outlined as desirable and to enable such a program to be maintained on a self-sustaining basis.
Sound mortgage insurance presupposes that the mortgaged facility is of a type well suited for financing on a normal commercial basis. Homes, like industrial properties, are well suited for financing on such a basis. Is this true of hospitals,
clinics, rehabilitation centers, and similar facilities? They are usually specialized facilities; they are not generally built for commercal purposes and have little value apart from their specialized use. It is doubtful that such facilities can be measured by normal investment standards or that the normal investment remedies of foreclosure and sale can be readily brought to bear on community facilities such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
In our opinion convincing evidence on the question of financial feasibility must be procured from a well-diversified group of financial and investment experts in order to justify favorable action on the bill at this time. Such evidence must, we believe, extend beyond the financing of facilities sponsored by service prepayment plans of the group practice type. If the evidence were confined to facilities so sponsored, we believe that the objections raised earlier in this report as to the limited scope of the bill in its present form would be applicable; that is, it would in effect be a bill to favor one type of prepayment plan and one pattern of medical practice.
In addition to the basic issue of financial feasibility, we believe there are other important questions of a financial and technical character which should be carefully considered. Among these provisions are the following:
(a) The provision (p. 15, line 3) making it the duty of the Surgeon General to insure mortgages if certain conditions have been met; in this form no discretion is permitted ;
(b) The provision that the amount of the insured loan may be as much as 90 percent of the value of the property or project;
(c) The provision requiring that the insurance cover the whole loan (subject to the 1 percent deduction provision applicable where the lending institution assumes the expense of foreclosure proceedings) ;
(d) The statutory ceiling on the premium rate;
3. RESPONSIBILITY FOR ADMINISTRATION Apart from the above questions as to the objectives and financial soundness of the program contemplated by H. R. 7700, it would be important to determine where the principal responsibility for administration should lie. The program objectives of the bill and the desirability of effecting coordination with health programs administered by this Department argue for the vesting of some measure of responsibility for administration in this Department. On the other hand, the important financial, mortgage, and real-property-law aspects of the program contemplated by the bill indicate that serious consideration should be given to vesting primary responsibility for administration of the proposed program in some other agency or department of the Government which is already experienced in the mortgage financing field.
In summary, while we are unable to endorse the bill in its present form, we should like to reiterate our support, in principle, for the concept of utilizing the mortgage loan insurance approach to supplement other efforts for relieving the shortage of health facilities in this country, provided that there are reliable grounds for the conclusion that such a program can rest on a sound, selfsustaining, self-liquidating basis. We regret that the evidence as to financial feasibility that has so far come to our attention does not enable us to state a more definitive conclusion with respect to the merits of the bill as a whole.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that it perceives no objection to the subinission of this report to your committee. Sincerely yours,
NELSON A. ROCKFELLER,
Acting Secretary. (For a supplemental letter approving H. R. 7700 with certain amendments, see below, p. 151.)
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington 25, D. C. April 22, 1954. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C. My dear Mr. CHAIRMAN: This will acknowledge your letters of January 8 and February 4, 1954, requesting the views of the Bureau of the Budget with respect to H. R. 6951 and H. R. 7700, similar bills to provide mortgage loan insurance for hospitals and medical facilities used in connection with voluntary prepayment health plans.
The bills would create a mortgage insurance fund to be used as a revolving fund to cover the insurance of eligible mortgages. The Surgeon General, Public Health Service, under the supervision and direction of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, would be authorized to insure mortgages made to secure a loan for the purpose of financing the construction, improvement or equipping of a medical facility which would be available primarily to serve subscribers to group practice prepayment health service plans. The aggregate amount of mortgages so insured could not exceed $1 billion at any one time and no one mortgage could involve a principal obligation in excess of $5 million.
The basic purposes of these bills, to stimulate the construction of additional medical centers, clinics, and other medical facilities and to encourage the extension of voluntary, prepayment health plans providing comprehensive medical and hospital care of high quality to the people at reasonable costs, certainly are highly desirable. With the President's approval, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare has suggested two measures, H. R. 8149 and H. R. 8356, which should go a long way toward accomplishing these same objectives. Enactment of H. R. 8356 would establish a limited Federal reinsurance service to encourage private and nonprofit health insurance organizations to offer broader health protection to more families. Enactment of H. R. 8149, to amend the hospital survey and construction provisions of the Public Health Service Act, would authorize financial assistance in the construction of several new types of urgently needed medical care facilities. The Bureau of the Budget, in its letter of March 17, 1954, to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, copy attached, recommended enactment of H. R. 8149 with certain amendments suggested by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
In our opinion, these proposals of the administration provide a constructive approach to the problems of building additional medical facilities and expanding voluntary prepayment health service plans. In the absence of a demonstrated need for the mortgage loan insurance approach and evidence as to its financial feasibility, we believe it unwise to initiate such a program to be administered by the Federal Government.
Accordingly, the Bureau of the Budget recommends against the enactment of either H. R. 6951 or H. R. 7700. Sincerely yours,
DONALD R. BELCHER,
April 28, 1954. Hon. CHARLES A. WOLVERTON, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C. DEAR MR. WOLVERTON : Further reference is made to your request for a report by the Veterans Administration on H. R. 7700, 83d Congress, “A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide mortgage loan insurance for hospitals and medical facilities used in connection with voluntary prepayment health plans.”
The purpose of this measure, which, if enacted, would be known as the Medical Facilities Mortgage Insurance Act of 1954, is to encourage private lending sources to provide funds for the construction and operation of hospitals and other medical facilities which are to be used in connection with voluntary group practice prepayment health service plans. To accomplish this purpose the bill would authorize the Government to insure mortgages on such hospitals and medical facilities by means of a revolving fund to be known as the medical facilities mortgage insurance fund which would be administered by the Surgeon General under the supervision and direction of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
The general mortgage insurance program proposed by the bill appears to be patterned after the insurance procedure followed by the Federal Housing Administration under the provisions of the National Housing Act. The FHA program, however, involves loans which are individually in a much smaller amount and collectively in a greater volume, and inasmuch as they are made in connection with residential property the general insurance risk against loss would appear