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September 29, 1969

The Cost of Medical Care

Author Affiliations

Charlottesville, Va

JAMA. 1969;209(13):2057. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160260061027

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To the Editor:—  The recent furor over physicians who collected what appeared to be exorbitant sums of money from alleged Medicaid abuse aroused in me a curious feeling of having seen it all happen before. It was not just a déjà-vu hallucination because it happened before in New Zealand in 1938. After the depression years, Prime Minister Savage and Finance Minister Nash of the newly elected Labor Party introduced the Social Security medical scheme. This was all-embracing and paralleled the efforts of secretaries Ribicoff and Cohen in this country in the last decade. This might be known as phase I, or the introduction. One thing which characterized phase I was the reluctance either through ignorance or design to apprise anyone of what such a scheme would entail in terms of costs. While the New Zealanders might be excused because theirs was the first such program in the world, this excuse