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May 16, 1966

The American Health Scandal

Author Affiliations

Hartford, Conn

JAMA. 1966;196(7):669. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100200109048

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This "exposé" of the deplorable state of medical care in the United States is a tedious and naïve effort by a free-lance journalist to create a potboiler with information long familiar to the educated reader. Mr. Tunley's stated purpose is to provide the public with an objective assessment of prevailing conditions, but his manner of presentation—through interviews, anecdotes, selected "statistics," and eyewitness accounts—produces a highly selected and distorted picture. Poor nursing homes and mental hospitals, high infant mortality, shortages of specialized medical facilities and physicians, uneven quality of hospitals, insufficient insurance protection, high costs, and inefficiency are his main revelations. Principal blame for these deficiencies is laid to the monolithic AMA, the "world's most hated union," which strives only to protect fee-for-service medicine and has successfully blocked progressive legislation by intimidating the federal government as well as the individual physician.

The second part of the book is far more interesting

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