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February 24, 1984

Amalgamated Biliary Associates Incorporated, Ltd: A Fantasy of 1994

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1984;251(8):1033. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340320021018

"I saw your ad on television and came over here this morning to talk to you about my gallbladder."

"Yes. I'll remove your gallbladder for $529.69 with no extras. I'll do it next Tuesday in under an hour and you can go home the next day. You can pay cash, in which case there will be a 10% discount, or you can use your credit card, in which case there will be a 10% processing fee by my office. Any questions?"

"Yes. Could you tell me a little bit about the procedure?"

"What's to tell? You saw the ad, and I just told you what it meant—gallbladder removal for $529.69, no extras."

"Yes, I know that, but what about the medical aspects of my case?"

"Oh, a wise guy! You get the price; now you want the extras!"

"I thought 'extras' meant hidden costs and other charges."

"Well, you were