[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Other Articles
December 21, 1935

Medical Economics

JAMA. 1935;105(25):2077. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760510049016

DISTRIBUTION OF PHYSICIANS UNDER INSURANCE  An oft repeated indictment against the system of private practice of medicine in the United States is that it leads to an inequitable distribution of medical facilities. The advocates of compulsory sickness insurance and "socialized" medicine cite the fact (unaccompanied by an analysis of population characteristics) that in 1931 there were 614 persons per physician in New York and 1,400 in South Carolina as evidence of the need to introduce insurance or some similar scheme as a means of distributing physicians more closely in relation to population.Prussia has had compulsory sickness insurance for more than half a century. The accompanying table is the result of a recent study of the distribution of physicians in Prussia.1 Although Prussia is smaller than most American states and there is a much more uniform distribution of population than in the United States as a whole, the differences in the distribution of physicians reach the extreme of 625 and 884 persons per physician in two provinces with the most physicians, to 3,003 and 2,651 in those with the least number of physicians in proportion to population.