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May 7, 1960


Author Affiliations

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, N. C.

JAMA. 1960;173(1):86-87. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020190088027

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To the Editor:—  The editorial "Freedom of Choice" in The Journal, Feb. 27, 1960, page 942, includes certain phrases which have been used vociferously by the medical profession for years. It is stated that "free choice of physician is the right of every individual" and that "such freedom of choice, together with free competition among physicians, constitute prerequisites to 'optimal medical care' ". There never has been and there never will be free choice of physician in the United States. Geography, economic status, limited numbers of physicians, and even race prohibit free choice. It cannot, therefore, be a prerequisite of optimal medical care.Since "free choice of physician" does not exist, what does this phrase mean? It must mean that every person has a right to choose any doctor that he can reach, whose fee he can pay, whose personality suits him, and who will accept him. This point has nothing

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