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The Runaway American Health Care System

John W. Burnside, MD
JAMA. 1990;263(18):2446. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440180044014.
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To the Editor.—  Two articles in a recent issue of JAMA contain the same misstatement, which detracts from the otherwise thoughtful comments of the authors. Drs Davies and Felder1 state that "by the year 2000 health care will consume 17% of the gross national product." Dr Lundberg2 in his editorial uses the phrase "ever-increasing percent of our gross national product that is consumed for medical and health care."The gross national product is the sum of all the goods and services in the economy. It is not an independent allocation of money that can be consumed or used up. The statement that health care consumes the gross national product leads to the belief that absent the health care industry, there would be a large piece of the gross national product that could be used for other things. On the contrary, without health care the gross national product would


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