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September 19, 1977

Medicine—Where It Seems To BeAn American Health Care System

JAMA. 1977;238(12):1251-1255. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280130033010

THE MORNING paper reports that fuel shortage is making the "all-electric" home a considerable liability to the pocket-book. The details, in brief, are that ten years ago the power and light companies endorsed vigorously—in fact, huckstered—the advantages of cheap, clean, efficient electrical power as the way of the future for the ideal home. Now, ten years later, these same companies have looked in their energy cupboard and found electricity is still a clean source of heating but not at all cheap; in fact, said the news article, electricity was found so very dear that the utility companies are urging home conversion to oil or coal.

This interesting example of inability to see the future, even when all signs were available a brief ten years earlier, readily is criticized by all of us as an example of an industry's lack of sensitivity to the public good and as an example of