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May 29, 1967

The Case of the Receipted Bill

Author Affiliations

Dr. Hudson is President of the American Medical Association.

JAMA. 1967;200(9):767-769. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120220069012

The title of my communication is in the best tradition of Erle Stanley Gardner. I have selected the subject to crystallize my own views and perhaps to stimulate discussion of a broader subject that involves our relationship with governmental financing mechanisms in general.

First, I must state what I regard as the essential element of medical practice. Fifty years ago it would not have been necessary even to consider this subject. At that time one would immediately have said that it was the request of one person for medical assistance and the response of a physician in agreeing to help. As I look at it, the essence of that relationship has not changed: a two-man contract is the heart of medical practice.

The development of new techniques and new forms of data collection and delivery of medical services might have beclouded the relationship for some people. Contributing to uncertainty also