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US medical reform: now is not the time

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 18 November 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1246
  1. John Roberts
  1. Washington

    Despite the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the US presidential election, most commentators are certain that little improvement in the medical care system is likely. The United States has never been so wealthy.

    Economists estimate that the government will run a surplus of $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Yet 43 million US citizens, one in six, remain without medical insurance. Neither presidential candidate has proposed universal medical suffrage. Neither has offered an idea to cut medical costs and waste. The sole difference is that Mr Bush has leant toward more privatisation and Mr Gore toward more public support. For example, both have focused on the rising costs of drugs, especially among elderly people, as the major medical issue facing the United States. Drugs account for about 5% of medical costs, and their costs are …

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