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August 29, 1966

A Nonphysician Looks at Medical Utopia

JAMA. 1966;197(9):697-699. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110090061018

The medical welfare state, should it become fact in the United States, would find little to guide it in the experiences of Sweden, Saskatchewan, Britain, Czechoslovakia, or any other land that has nationalized its health services. State medical systems in operation have made use of organizational systems and insurance plans to provide free access to medical service, regardless of ability to pay. Otherwise, they have embraced no radical technological advances in the nature and delivery of medical services.

In the United States, a medical welfare state would be a mammoth systems laboratory, integrating medical research, medical education, patient care, medical-records-center management, systems-information feedback (such as medical audits and drug-effects reporting), communicable-disease-control centers, mass-screening programs, coordinated progressive referral systems (essential in an age of specialization), community organization, epidemiological surveys, and other components of the ultimate medical program in a systems society.

Applied science and technology would be maximally exploited in diagnosis,