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May 4, 1970

What Price Interns

Author Affiliations

Great Bend, Kan

JAMA. 1970;212(5):884. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170180160035

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To the Editor.—  Relative to your editorial, "What Price Interns?," (211: 1369, 1970). To one who stands back and takes a long view of history, the present debate over the salaries of interns has a curious ring to it. The rise in their salaries is only shocking by comparison with the laughable smallness of their traditional remuneration. When one considers the relatively unskilled, easily trained for jobs that are rewarded with hourly wages and benefits totaling $15 to $25,000 a year in contemporary America, the enormous number of hours worked by the average intern certainly warrants him a living wage. The opponents of this increase simply have at the core of their argument the economic truism that it is cheaper to manufacture things using slave labor than using paid laborers.To ask "Is the intern starting his hospital service on July 1 worth so much more than he was as