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Editorial
February 13, 2019

Rationing of Health Care in the United States: An Inevitable Consequence of Increasing Health Care Costs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Editor in Chief, JAMA
JAMA. 2019;321(8):751-752. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.1081

The modern era of medicine began in the 1960s. Health care coverage expanded with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid and the increasing availability of employee-based health insurance. Scientific and clinical advances began to occur at a far more rapid pace. Physicians became more specialized and began to focus on acute care dominated by cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer rather than infectious diseases, and there was increasing recognition of the importance of chronic diseases. With more data available, it became possible to measure variation in the delivery and quality of care, along with disparities and rationing in the provision of care. Health care costs per person more than doubled between 1960 and 1970, beginning their 5-decade increase.1

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