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America's Health in the Balance: Choice or Chance?

Odin W. Anderson, PhD
JAMA. 1987;258(5):705-706. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400050147046.
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During the last few years, several books have appeared describing what is wrong with the American health services and prescribing solutions. This is one of the better ones in its scope and in the broad experience of the author. It is written with the passion of a concerned physician with relevant supporting data. The book is a sophisticated polemic. Any criticism of it would seem to be chary.

The author has impressive credentials. He is a nationally known physician and statesman of medicine, a professor at the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He writes from the perspective of a practicing physician, medical researcher, and policy analyst.

He paints the usual picture: The United States ranks 17th among the developed nations in infant mortality. In 15 countries, life expectancy is equal to or greater than that in the United States. Thirty-seven million Americans, 15% of the


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