Medicine: The Doctors' Delay

The 20,000-odd Rhode Islanders who gathered in Providence's Roger Williams Park last week for an old-fashioned "Sunday in the Park" had a birthday to celebrate. In ten years, the Blue Cross (hospital insurance) plan had covered 532,000 subscribers—70% of all Rhode Islanders and 75% of all eligibles. In no other state had the plan been so successful. But something was missing: Rhode Island Blue Cross still could not cover doctors' fees.

For four years, Blue Cross had been trying to get the Rhode Island Medical Society's approval (required by state law) for a nonprofit, surgical insurance plan. Time & again the doctors...

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