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October 16, 1991

Caring for the Uninsured and Underinsured

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, Calif

Los Angeles County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, Calif

JAMA. 1991;266(15):2079. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470150050021

To the Editor.  —As a public hospital physician overwhelmed by the growing number of indigent and uninsured patients, I want to thank you for devoting the May 15 JAMA issue to health care reform. The articles were most informative; Dr Lundberg's editorial1 was inspirational.Although several viewpoints regarding reform were presented, all overlooked a major component in the quest to build a more just health care system. While I concur that the discussions of different possibilities of payer mixes and administrative structures are, in fact, central to any basic reform, provider mix, perhaps the most important element in a rational delivery system, was not discussed.There is a consensus that at least 50% of the providers must be in primary care—family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics—if our goal to develop a cost-effective system with universal access to basic services for all is to be achieved. I note