JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.
With the present winter sessions of the state legislatures we may look for proposals for irrational and impracticable laws. Some such measures have already been announced. We hardly expect homicide of incurables to come up again—this year at least—as the verdict of public opinion has been so pronounced against it. We may, however, include under the general head of “freaks” such propositions as one to prevent the propagation of degeneration by surgery, and one to compel physicians and surgeons to go “whiskerless” and beardless. It would only be a step further to require them to be bald. Some persons are so organized that they can not help going to extremes. If we are to credit the press, laws are being considered in a western state that will compel each county clerk to publish quarterly a list of physicians, with the numbers of deaths that have occurred under their charge; another that shall prohibit a physician charging more than a set schedule of prices; still another providing that a physician shall not be able to collect his bill should the patient decide he had received no benefit from treatment, and yet one more which states that should a patient die while under treatment the physician's bill for services must be canceled. We suggest that legislation along this line might be amplified. All pastors who fail to regenerate their entire congregations should have their salaries cut down proportionately to the per capita failures among their flocks; every lawyer who does not succeed in getting a verdict for his client should be unable to collect any fee for his services; all “patent-medicine” manufacturers should be required to sell their products at not more than 25 per cent. advance over the cost price, and on the “no cure, no pay” basis, etc. The field of class legislation is large and tempting.
FREAK LEGISLATION.. JAMA. 2007;297(9):1007. doi:10.1001/jama.297.9.1007-a