[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 30, 1977

A Prescription for the Rising Cost of Medical Care

JAMA. 1977;237(22):2383-2384. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270490023017

THE RECENT presidential and congressional elections have refocused public attention on the steeply rising cost of health care. Some influential critics have put the blame on new medical technologies and have suggested a moratorium on the installation of expensive medical equipment such as computerized tomographic scanning units. Other observers have indicted the malpractice crisis and the increasing tendency of physicians to practice "defensive medicine." The reputed list of excessive cost-producers includes nearly every person and institution taking part in the provision of health care. However, physicians remain the central figures in our medical system; and whether they are directly or indirectly involved in the financial crisis in medicine, they must share the responsibility and participate in any reasonable solution. At least three problem areas in medicine require change—change that can be initiated, or at least stimulated, by physicians.

Outpatient Care  There is general agreement that outpatient care is less expensive