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JAMA 100 Years Ago
December 15, 1999


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Editorial Assistant

JAMA. 1999;282(23):2196D. doi:10.1001/jama.282.23.2196

It is announced from Boston, that a number of "leading physicians" have organized a "Union Medical Service Company," which for a small monthly fee will entitle the subscriber to medical and surgical services whenever required. Branch offices are to be opened in every city in the United States and Canada, and the State of Massachusetts has already been portioned out into districts with one or more physicians to each, who are to be at the beck and call of the patrons of the society day and night, and to obtain their remuneration through the company. This grand scheme of exploiting the medical profession is announced in the daily press as a great advance, the item announcing it being headed "For the Workers," as if appealing especially to the much overworked labor vote, and the privilege of doctors' calls ad libitum, it is assumed, will do away with the trifling with serious disorders by home remedies; hence there will be an improved public health and a lowered death-rate. It, therefore, goes before the public as a highly philanthropic and benevolent project in which only the doctors are to be sacrificed for the public good, while the "company of leading physicians" will, it may be, reap a reward for their good works in appreciated stocks and dividends. There are possibilities enough of evil in this design to arouse the profession, and it will be of interest to see how far the profession and the public—especially the former—will be taken in.