Medicine: Health Care: Supply, Demand and Politics

IF gross medical resources alone guaranteed physical wellbeing, Americans would be the healthiest people in the world. The U.S. has more than 7,000 hospitals, many of them with the most advanced and elaborate equipment available anywhere. The nation's 330,000 doctors, one for every 650 people, are the products of the most rigorous training. In sheer dollar terms, health has become the second largest industry in the U.S., last year turning over $67.2 billion, or 6.9% of the G.N.P.

But this vast expenditure, $324 per capita annually, does not ensure a high level of...

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