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May 19, 1993

Using Academic Health Centers to Help Avoid Health Care's Next Crisis

Author Affiliations

From the Office of the President, Association of Academic Health Centers, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1993;269(19):2548-2549. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500190092042

WHEN Thomas Jefferson talked of a healthy population as a prerequisite for an effective and informed citizenry capable of sustaining the new American democracy, he was speaking of a public good, not another commercial enterprise. Our failure to adequately treat basic health care as a public good has left us in crisis.

We seem as a society to be inundated with plans and talk about what to do about the current health care crisis—a crisis consisting of inadequate financial access to health care for a large segment of our population and of ever-escalating and uncontrolled costs for the services we do get. It would appear that we may be in danger of actually doing something about it; I use the word "danger" because none of the plans and none of the talk thus far say anything about how we expect to provide the care, especially to that 15% to 20%