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Books, Journals, New Media
September 28, 2005

Health Policy

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;294(12):1556-1557. doi:10.1001/jama.294.12.1556-b

The key facts regarding health care spending and universal insurance have been rehearsed so often that most Americans know the tune by heart: with the highest expenditures for health care in the world, the United States is the only major developed nation lacking universal health coverage. Medical students in my health policy course find this situation both incomprehensible and outrageous. Universal coverage has so many obvious advantages (reduced administrative burden, fewer personal bankruptcies, greater use of preventive services, more appropriate use of the emergency department, decreased cost shifting to private insurers by safety-net providers—to name just a few) that even thoughtful attempts to rationalize the lack of universal coverage can be quickly dismissed.

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