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Louis M. Orr, M.D.
JAMA. 1956;162(9):860-865. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970260010004.
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• The medical program of the Veterans Adminstration shows a steady development from 1917, when the first purely medical benefits for veterans were authorized and limited to veterans with service-connected disabilities, to 1956, when the 170 VA hospitals have more than 123,000 constructed beds and more than 114,000 operating beds as compared with 37,570 patients with service-connected conditions and almost 66,000 with non-service-connected conditions. The course of this wasteful development must lead either to an inequitable situation in which one-third of the adult citizens are, while two-thirds are not, entitled to free hospitalization, or else to government hospital and medical care for the entire population. The unfair discrimination that now operates could be obviated by developing the present plan consistenly to its abhorrent conclusion, namely, complete government control over all personnel and services, with tax-paid, politically controlled medicine for every-body. The reasonable alternative is to reverse this trend as regards the VA program and to protect and improve our private system of health care for all people.


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