Most physicians tend to look upon their colleagues who are not actually engaged in the private practice of medicine as a numerically small group. Furthermore, they do not usually think of these doctors as particularly involved in the policies which affect private practitioners, such as "free choice," "socialized medicine," "confidential physician-patient relationship," and the "third party in medicine." Actually, as of December 31, 1956, the American Medical Association Directory Department showed that, of the 229,876 physicians in the United States, 72,488 doctors of medicine, or 32%, had stated they were not in private practice. That is, these men indicated they were not supplying direct medical care primarily on a fee-forservice basis.
Many of the 72,488 physicians mentioned do take care of patients, however. For example, there are over 15,000 doctors in some form of government service. Some of these serve as regular commissioned officers of our armed forces or Veterans