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Policy Perspectives
September 9, 1998

Marginal Medicine

Author Affiliations

Mr Lamm, former Democratic governor of Colorado from 1975 to 1987, is executive director for the Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues, University of Denver, Denver, Colo.

JAMA. 1998;280(10):931-933. doi:10.1001/jama.280.10.931

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement; the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth .—Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

LET ME STATE a health care heresy—but, I submit, it is a public policy truth. It would be a tragic public policy mistake to give society all the health care it wants and almost as big of a mistake to give it all it needs according to today's medical ethics. One of the dilemmas of today's health care debate is that medical ethics, as currently structured and interpreted, is bad public policy and actually counterproductive to the total well-being of society. It is a dilemma we must soon resolve.

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