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March 8, 1952

Cost of Medical Care: The Expenditures for Medical Care of 455 Families in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1947-1948

JAMA. 1952;148(10):875. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930100093034

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The Heller Committee for Research in Social Economics of the University of California has presented a study of the expenditures for medical care of 455 moderate income families in the San Francisco Bay area in 1947-1948. After extensive analysis of the expenditures for medical care, the composition of the families, the illnesses for which medical care was required, the types of medical care required, and the amount of prepayment coverage, this report concludes that expenditures for medical care can be burdensome and sometimes disastrous and that "the only way that real protection can be accomplished is through a system of compulsory health insurance at least for the low- and moderate-income groups in our population."

This conclusion is not supported by the findings of the study. The great majority of the families studied had medical expenditures that could not be called disastrous in relation to their income. The most common illnesses

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