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Special Report |

The Belgian Medical Crisis

C. Newton Peabody, MD
JAMA. 1964;190(4):285. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070170026007.
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JULIUS CAESAR, in his commentaries on the three parts of Gaul, noted that "the Belgiums were the most courageous of them all." The conduct of the Belgian medical profession in the past few months lends strong support to that observation. The enactment of the Leburton law establishing a National Institute of Sickness and Disability Insurance (INAMI) forced the doctors and dentists to decide whether they or the politicians were better qualified to determine the character of organized medicine in their country. It is well known that the strike was used and that the medical body finally won its point. While the technical details of their victory are being determined, one might well examine the ethics of the strike, the strategy of the government, and the reason for the doctors' success.

Without seeming to apologize for the strike, certain details of its execution should be better known. The American press did


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