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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 2, 2002


Author Affiliations

Copyright 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2002American Medical Association

JAMA. 2002;288(13):1660. doi:10.1001/jama.288.13.1660-JJY20030-2-1

According to a recent issue of the Journal de Paris the physicians in Holland are agitating for a sort of state endowment of the profession. The plan is to add 1 or 2 per cent. to the income tax on all having a yearly income of 500 florins or more, the proceeds of which will be devoted to the support of the state health functionaries, who would thus be freed from all cares of business and be able to devote their whole time to the welfare of their patients and their advancement in professional knowledge. All medical treatment would be free, but only the rich or the relatively well to do would have to contribute to the tax. There would be, according to this plan, one physician to each 2,000 of the general population, or about 2,500 in all for the 500,000 inhabitants of the Netherlands. This plan has a specious appearance, but it would be interesting to see how it would work in practice. What would the high-priced specialist do, for it would almost necessarily imply that no state authorized doctors should charge a fee. How would the government manage the interlopers and quacks who would undoubtedly endeavor to continue to exist? How about consultants from without or those foreigners who might desire the services as consultants of Dutch physicians? These and a host of other questions suggest themselves if this interesting experiment in state socialism is to be made. We have, however, some little doubt as to the imminent danger of its being practically realized in the near future.

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