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with the administration's concern in regard to adequate medical care to the aged.
Discontinuance of the service to the dependents of those now employed similarly would be an obvious breach of a moral obligation. Moreover it would undoubtedly result in the loss of some highly qualified personnel. To keep faith with these employees, the Department recommends it be made clear that Public Health Service care will continue to be provided to all vessel employees now on active duty or retired, and their dependents.
We believe, however, that for those entering on service in the future, medical care after retirement, and for dependents at all times, should be provided on the same basis as those benefits are provided for Federal employees generally, that is, under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act of 1959.
The attached legislation would accomplish this purpose by providing in effect that a vessel employee who entered on duty before July 1, 1963, would be eligible to receive care at PHS facilities after retirement and his dependents would be eligible for such care at any time. Employees entering on duty after that date would receive medical care after retirement, and for their dependents, under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act of 1959.
The legislation would also amend section 326 (c) of the Public Health Service Act to make clear that the Public Health Service is to supply for the Coast and Geodetic Survey not only care for the sick and disabled but also ancillary seryices such as medical examinations for purposes of appointment, retirement, and the like. This would be accomplished by extending to the Coast and Geodetic Survey existing authority for the Coast Guard to receive such services. The amendment to section 326(c) also would extend to Public Health Service officers assigned to Coast and Geodetic Survey vessels the authority to render medical aid to crews of fishing vessels now vested in Public Health Service officers assigned to Coast Guard vessels.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE,
April 9, 1963. Hon. HERBERT C. BONNER, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This letter is in response to your request of January 29, 1963, for a report on H.R. 74, a bill to provide medical care for certain Coast and Geodetic Survey retired ships' officers and crewmembers and their dependents and for other purposes.
Section 1(a) of the bill would provide that, subject to regulations of the President, retired ships' officers and retired members of the crews of vessels of the Coast and Geodetic Survey shall be entitled to medical, surgical, and dental treatment, and hospitalization at facilities of the Public Health Service, provided that such officers or members were retired on or before July 1, 1962, or were employed continuously from that date until retirement.
Section 1(b) would extend medical advice, outpatient treatment, and (if suitable accommodations are available) hospitalization, by the Public Health Service, at per diem rates, to dependents of an active or retired ships' officer or crewmember, subject to regulations of the President, provided such officer or crewmember has retired on or before July 1, 1962, or has been employed continuously from that date (or until his subsequent retirement). Section 326(b) of the Public Health Service Act, which now extends such services on a permanent basis to dependents of ships' officers and crewmembers on active duty would be repealed by section 2 of the bill.
Section 2 would also revise subsection (c) of section 326 to require the Public Health Service to provide certain medical services to the Coast and Geodetic Survey which are now required to be provided to the Coast Guard.
Before June 7, 1956, both active duty and retired ships' officers and members of crews of vessels of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and their dependents were entitled to receive the above-described services from the Public Health Service. On that date, there was enacted the Dependents' Medical Care Act (now chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code) which was intended to provide uniformly for medical care to dependents of members of all of the uniformed services. However, ships' officers and members of crews of vessels of the Coast and Geodetic Survey are not members of the Commissioned Corps of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and hence are not members of a uniformed service.
Therefore, the Dependents' Medical Care Act, although repealing so much of section 326 of the Public Health Service Act as applied to dependents of members of any of the uniformed services, nevertheless excepted from this repealer the section's application to dependents of such ships' officers and crewmembers.
When the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Personnel Act of 1960 was enacted on April 8 of that year, section 326 of the Public Health Service Act was amended to eliminate provision for retired officers and enlisted personnel of the uniformed services previously entitled to medical and dental care thereunder. These personnel were already provided for under 10 U.S.C. section 1074 (b) (originally section 301 (b) of the Dependents' Medical Care Act), and a difference in interpretation between the two sections was interfering with a desired parity of treatment between retired personnel of the Coast Guard, Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Public Health Service and retired personnel of the military services. However, as the result of an inadvertence, there was also repealed the entitlement to care of retired ships' officers and crewmembers of vessels of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and their dependents, even though these persons (not being members or dependents of members of the uniformed services) were not provided for by title 10. This entitlement was restored for fiscal years 1961, 1962, and 1963 by the Department's appropriation acts for those years (Public Law 86–703, Public Law 87–290, and Public Law 87-582), and has been proposed for inclusion in our appropriation act for fiscal 1964 under the heading “Hospitals and Medical Care."
The bill would correct this unfortunate legislative situation. The additional responsibilities that it would impose on the Public Health Service to provide certain medical services to the Coast and Geodetic Survey are minor and would require no additional appropriations.
In view of the above, we recommend enactment of H.R. 74.
We are advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,
ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE, Secretary. Mr. Garmatz. The first witness this morning is Captain Hicks, Assistant to the Director, Coast and Geodetic Survey.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. EDGAR F. HICKS, ASSISTANT TO THE
DIRECTOR, COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY
Mr. GARMATZ. Is there any other person you would like to have accompany you?
Mr. Hicks. No, Mr. Chairman, I don't think so.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I wish to thank you for the privilege of appearing before you to present the views of the Department of Commerce with respect to H.R. 74, a bill now being considered by this committee.
This bill would restore permanent authority for medical care at Public Health Service facilities for certain retired Coast and Geodetic Survey vessel employees and their dependents.
It would also provide for eventual transition so that retired vessel employees and dependents of vessel employees, both on active duty and retired would ultimately receive medical care under the provisions of the Federal Employees Health Service Act.
For many years, the Coast and Geodetic Survey vessel employees on active duty have been authorized to receive medical care for themselves from the Public Health Service on the same basis as other seamen employed on American vessels.
No change is contemplated in this authority. In 1939, the authority for medical care was extended to include retired vessel employees and dependents of both retired and active duty vessel employees.
In 1960, in amending the Public Health Service Act to provide parity of treatment between members of the various uniformed services, section 5(d) of Public Law 86-415 inadvertently repealed the authority for retired vessel employees and their dependents to receive Public Health Service medical care.
This amendment was intended to affect only members of the uniformed services. Coast and Geodetic Survey vessel employees are civil service employees and are not members of a uniformed service.
This unintentional repeal was brought to the attention of the Congress and since 1960 has been restored on a year-to-year basis by inclusion of a provision in the Public Health Service Appropriation Act.
The present vessel employees, both active and retired, were hired and have worked long and faithfully with the understanding that medical care would be provided for them and their dependents after retirement.
The elimination of this authority for those already retired would constitute an obvious breach of faith with the employee and impose upon him a severe unanticipated financial hardship.
Discontinuance of this authority for dependents of those now on active duty to receive medical care would similarly be a breach of a moral obligation on the part of the Government.
To keep faith with those employees who have worked long and faithfully, the Department of Commerce recommends enactment of this proposed legislation which would make it clear that medical care will continue to be provided for those employees now on active duty or retired and their dependents on the same basis as it has been provided in the past.
We believe, however, that since there is now available to all Federal civilian employees certain benefits under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act of 1959, it is fitting and proper that new employees, just entering on active duty, should receive medical care for themselves after retirement and for their dependents at all times under that act on the same basis as is provided for other civil service employees rather than from the Public Health Service.
Sections 1(a) and 1(b) of H.R. 74 contain provisos that authorized care will not be provided for those employees whose date of service is after July 1, 1962.
The Department of Commerce recommends that whenever the date July 1, 1962, appears in H.R. 74 it be changed to July 1, 1963.
If this change is not made, those employees who have entered on duty after July 1, 1962, and who are presently authorized medical care for their dependents will lose that authorization.
We believe that fairness to the employee requires that a "cutoff” date, such as this bill proposes, not be made retroactive by any considerable amount of time.
Section 326 (b) of the Public Health Service Act which provides for the medical care of dependents of Coast and Geodetic Survey vessel employees on active duty would be repealed since medical care for dependents of vessel employees on active duty on July 1, 1963, if the amendment proposed above is adopted, whose service is continuous from that date, would be provided for by section 1(b) of this bill.
Section 326(c) of the Public Health Service Act would be amended to make it clear that the Public Health Service is to supply for the Coast and Geodetic Survey not only care for the sick and disabled, but to supply ancillary services such as medical examination for purposes of appointment, promotion, retirement, or the like, on the same basis as is now provided for the Coast Guard.
It would also extend to Public Health Service officers assigned to Coast and Geodetic Survey vessels the authority to render medical aid to crews of fishing vessels now vested in Public Health Service officers assigned to Coast Guard vessels.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement.
Mr. GARMATZ. I am informed by counsel that the Senate has an amendment.
Mr. Hicks. It is my understanding, yes, sir, that the Senate has proposed or will propose amendments. They have not reported it out yet.
Mr. GARMATZ. Do you have a copy of the amendments?
Mr. HICKS. The amendments are as follows: On page 1, line 9, page 2, lines 3, 14 and 20, add after the date, which on H.R. 74 is 1962, which we are recommending to change to 1963, add the words, “or date of enactment, whichever is later."
And then on page 2, line 7, after the words "Geodetic Survey whether”, we add the words "such officers and members of crews are”, so that it would make that section read: Subject to regulations of the President, dependent members of families, as defined in such regulations, of ship's officers and members of crews of vessels of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, whether such officers and members of crews are on active duty or retired, shall be furnished medical advice and outpatient treatmentand so on.
Mr. GARMATZ. Mr. Tupper?
Mr. HICKS. We don't have any. I understand Dr. Mitler from the Public Health Service is here, and Mr. Hollinger if you have any questions of them.
Mr. GARMATZ. I think we have a report from Health, Education, and Welfare Department.
Mr. ZINCKE. It is favorable.
Mr. GARMATZ. If there are no objections, we will include these roports in the record.
Mr. GARMATZ. Are there any other questions?
(Whereupon, at 10:20 a.m., the subcommittee proceeded to other business.)
MISCELLANEOUS COAST GUARD HEARINGS
NAVIGATION RULE EXCEPTIONS
TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 1963
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
GEODETIC SURVEY, AND NAVIGATION OF THE
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:20 a.m., pursuant to previous business, in room 219, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. Edward A. Garmatz (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. GARMATZ. We will proceed with hearings on H.R. 75, a bill introduced by Chairman Bonner, to provide for exceptions to the rules of navigation in certain cases. (The bill and agency reports follow:)
(H.R. 75, 88th Cong., 1st Sess.) A BILL To provide for exceptions to the rules of navigation in certain cases Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating may permit vessels desiring to navigate or operate under bridges constructed over navigable waters of the United States to temporarily lower any lights, day signals, or other navigational means and appliances prescribed or required pursuant to law, rule, or regulation, and, if necessary, may authorize vessels so navigating or operating to depart from the rules to prevent collisions as prescribed by law, rule, or regulation. The Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating may also prescribe such special regulations to be observed by vessels so navigating or operating as in his judgment the public safety may require for the prevention of collisions.
(b) Notice of the regulations to accomplish the purposes of this Act shall be published in the Federal Register and in the Notice to Mariners, and after the effective date specified in such notices, such regulations shall have the force of law.
(c) Any person who navigates or operates a vessel in violation of the regulations established pursuant to this section shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding $500. In addition, any vessel navigated or operated in violation of the regulations established pursuant to this section shall be liable to a penalty of $500, for which sum such vessel may be seized and proceeded against, by way of libel, in the district court of the United States for any district within which such vessel may be found.
GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
Washington, D.C., April 10, 1963. Hon. HERBERT C. BONNER, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request for the views of the Department of Commerce concerning H.R. 75, a bill to provide for exceptions to the rules of navigation in certain cases.