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December 1991

Indigent Care: Is It Out of Fashion?

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(12):1420. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870240112021

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To the Editor.—I enjoyed the refreshing tone of Pratt's commentary on Indigent Patient Care: Then and Now in the May 1991 issue of the Archives. It seems that we as physicians are constantly in a defensive position trying only to delay the inevitable inroads of government into our practices. Perhaps turning back the clock is not a hopeless or oversimplified position.

Those attempting to control the methods and cost of medicine are working with a few simple underlying assumptions. Perhaps they are so well accepted that they are not questioned. Among them are the following: First, health care is a "right" demanded by all citizens. It is not as yet a constitutional right, but this has not been challenged in the courts. It may be a moot point, however, if some form of state or national health insurance is legislated. Second, monetary compensation is a "right" demanded by physicians

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