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January 1970

Can the Traditional: Practice of Medicine Survive?

Author Affiliations

New York

From the Graduate Center and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York, and the National Bureau of Economic Research, New York.

Arch Intern Med. 1970;125(1):154-156. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310010156020

It is symptomatic of the sheltered lives that physicians lead that a panel should be assembled to discuss this question. Physicians have been sheltered in two ways. First, they are economically sheltered. Although spokesmen for medicine frequently pay lip service to the free enterprise system, the medical care industry is noted for its high levels of collusion, barriers to entry, and other restrictions on competition. This is not said by way of criticism. The market restrictions may well be justified given the special characteristics of medical care. But they do help to explain physicians' behavior and attitudes. Physicians are sheltered from competition without and do their best to prevent competition within.

As an aside please note that the term "industry" is not intended in a pejorative sense. In economics an industry is defined simply as a collection of individuals and institutions engaged in the use of similar scarce resources to

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