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April 8, 1974

The Place of the Physician in Modern Society

JAMA. 1974;228(2):177-179. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230270021018

NEARLY a half century ago a group of leaders in the fields of medicine, public health, and the social sciences convened to consider distribution of medical care and the quality of the care that was or was not reaching the citizenry—an index of a civilization then as now. The self-constituted Committee on the Cost of Medical Care (1927 to 1932) resulted. This was composed of 50 members under the chairmanship of Ray Lyman Wilbur, MD, President of Stanford University. The committee comprised a group of distinguished people, physicians, sociologists, economists, and public figures, buttressed by a research staff of 75 technical experts.

From the final report, a statement by Walton H. Hamilton (1881-1958), Professor of Law at Yale University Law School, is worth resurrecting because of insights into the nuances of certain medical problems of considerable subtlety that compliment the excellence of the presentation. Hamilton found himself unable to concur