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May 19, 1993

Medical Care Is Not Health Care

Author Affiliations

University of California School of Public Health Berkeley

JAMA. 1993;269(19):2504. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500190046021

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To the Editor.  —One hears a great deal about "health care" these days. Before November 3, 1992, former President Bush had a health care plan and President Clinton had promised to send Congress a health care package within the first 100 days of his administration. The pages of JAMA frequently contain articles on health care and the editors regularly use the term. But, was President Bush and are President Clinton and the editors of JAMA really talking about health care or are they talking about "disease" or "medical care"? Nowadays, the term "health care" is typically used to refer to those practices and organizations that society uses for the care and rehabilitation of the sick. Calling these activities health care constantly reinforces the view that medical care determines the health status of the population. But the best that curative medical care can do is to return the sick and disabled