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May 23, 1990

The Medical Cost-Containment Crisis: Fears, Opinions, and Facts

Author Affiliations

The Pennsylvania State University University Park

The Pennsylvania State University University Park

JAMA. 1990;263(20):2827. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440200133040

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Four pages into this volume there is a figure that compares health care spending in the United States to that in seven other industrialized countries. Five of the seven are shown to spend more than the United States on a per capita basis—Canada a whopping 48% more! Were it true, there would be no need for this book or any of the dozens of others published on the same topic over the last decade.

Errors of this sort abound in the introductory chapter of this loosely edited collection of 18 essays, which, as the title indicates, put fears and opinions before facts. It would have helped had the editor provided standard documentation for his figures and charts. As it is, the reader has no idea where the numbers actually came from. For example, Figure 2 (p 7), which is attributed simply to the "Health Care Financing Administration," is a pie