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July 1, 1988

AIDS Recommendations Leave Federal Officials to Ponder: Where Do We Go From Here?

JAMA. 1988;260(1):16-17. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410010022007

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TACKLING ITS CHARGE to recommend a national policy for dealing with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Epidemic's final report contains a section that essentially is urging nothing less than revamping some of the health care system in the United States.

"This is a unique opportunity; to miss this chance to get ourselves restructured nationally would be a tragic mistake," says James D. Watkins, the retired admiral who is the commission's chair. He says many of those who testified before the commission and most of the commission members themselves are receptive to this viewpoint.

In examining the impact of AIDS, Watkins says, "we ran into so many issues—discrimination, nursing shortages, therapeutic drug development, intravenous drug abuse, education— issues that could not be resolved by any short-term solutions. To neglect these would build up long-term health problems that will be much more expensive to