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January 7, 1961


JAMA. 1961;175(1):41-42. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040010043012

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Considerable attention has been drawn to plans concerning compulsory health insurance for the aged under the Social Security System, or a "low cost health insurance protection" not under its aegis. I am uninformed on the financial and economic implications of plans such as these, but I have an opinion about the medical, social, and public health aspects of them by reason of forty years' work with the aged in large hospitals and medical schools over the country.

Looking at matters under the aspect of eternity (as Spinoza said), I believe it unwise to single out a segment of the population for preference or for obloquy (depending on one's point of view) on grounds that will tend to isolate them, or in any way discourage their sense of responsibility. Beside the aged, there comes to mind the veteran, the orphan, the adolescent, the epileptic, etc., etc. Such classifications tend to insulate

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