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August 11, 1997

The German Health System: Lessons for Reform in the United States

Author Affiliations

Köln, Germany

Rochester, Minn

Würzburg, Germany

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(15):1773. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440360219033

We read with great interest the description of the German health care system by Jackson1 in the January 27, 1997, issue of the Archives. As in the United States, the health care system in Germany is being modified in response to changing national needs. Some of the changes are not yet well described in the current literature. We want to clarify a few points in Jackson's article.

  1. The information that physicians who work for industry or the public health system are prohibited from seeing patients can be further clarified. Every licensed physician can treat patients. There are many physicians working for the industry who are also ambulatory care physicians. Physicians who work for the public health service also perform curative medicine, although in a limited way (for example, in vaccination programs).2

  2. Some of the numbers quoted in the section on financing have been surpassed by recent figures.

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