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Congress may be asked this session to abolish the US Public Health Service.
The Administration is considering replacement of PHS with a civilian "health service" eliminating the military aspects of PHS, with pay, ranks, uniforms, and retirement patterned after the military services.
The new plan would carry certain pay and other incentives to attract physicians into the federal government, but the separate identity of PHS physicians would be removed. All physicians working for the Health, Education, and Welfare Department would be in the same category, perhaps similar to the Foreign Service in the State Department.
The largest share of the PHS budget, more than $1 billion, goes to the National Institutes of Health which carries on medical research activities which, essentially, are not standard PHS functions.
There has been a growing cleavage between NIH and other PHS branches, with NIH physicians campaigning for separation.
The spread of government health programs
WASHINGTON NEWS. JAMA. 1967;200(8):37-39. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120210025004