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Playing politics with the poor: the cities

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 30 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:832
  1. JOHN ROBERTS, north American editor
  1. BMJ

    Not since the depression of the 1930s has the United States faced so great a social turnaround in political attitudes toward the poor as is happening now. Commentators in the media call the new move toward privatisation “the mean spiritedness of rich white men,” but, whatever the motivation, privatisation is going ahead in cities across the United States.

    Throughout this century Americans with no health insurance and no money have been able to turn to the 450 public hospitals run by cities, counties, and states. New York's Bellevue Hospital, Boston City Hospital, and Chicago's Cook County Hospital, for example, have grand histories as places whose doors have never closed to the poor. No one claims that these centres have been efficient: staffing is poor, day to day they are …

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