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November 15, 1941


JAMA. 1941;117(20):1716-1718. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820460054016

THE ECONOMIC STATUS OF OBSTETRICS IN NORTH DAKOTA  P. W. FREISE, M.D.BISMARCK, N. D.Medical literature is relatively barren regarding economic factors. This barrenness, however, does not exist in lay periodicals. In contrast, such periodicals are rife, frequently in a derogatory manner, with articles dealing with the economic factors of medicine. This condition has probably always existed.In late years the public, having been encouraged to demand the abundant life, expects the good care to which it is entitled, not fully realizing this improved care might entail some increase in cost. In 1817 the Boston Medical Association listed charges for midwifery during the day as $12 and at night as $15. In 1871 the Omaha-Douglas County Medical Society adopted a fee schedule which listed "obstetric fees, ordinary case of not over six hours $20; for each hour's attendance over six hours $1." 1 In interpreting these historical facts, one should keep in mind that undoubtedly the purchasing power of money at that time was at least 100 per cent greater than it is today. It can then readily be seen that the "high cost" of medical care, which supposedly exists today, was fully as high in the