Medicine: The Annual Rip-Off?

No health measure is as widely accepted by the American public as the annual or semiannual physical checkup. Doctors and hospitals promote it. So do major health organizations. Many labor unions and corporations agree that periodic employee examinations serve everybody's interests. Even Presidents dutifully submit to them, as did Gerald Ford last week on his 63rd birthday. Yet an increasing number of physicians have begun to question whether the ritual trip to the doctor is really necessary or practical.

The Annals of Internal Medicine, many of whose physician subscribers derive considerable income from...

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