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Former JAMA Editor Laments the State of Medical Care

Los Angeles Times
March 26, 2001
by Linda Marsh

An interview with George D. Lundberg, M.D., former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association:

Question: To switch gears a bit, you've been highly critical of managed care....

Answer: Managed care is basically over. People hate it, and it's no longer controlling costs. Health-care inflation is now back in the double digits. So if it's not saving money, then why should we have it? But like an unembalmed corpse decomposing, dismantling managed care is going to be very messy and very smelly, and take awhile.

Question: What do you see taking its place?

Answer: In the future, I think we'll see some form of government health insurance, along the Medicare model. Not necessarily socialized medicine but one large insurance pool or one single payer where people and employers can buy in. I think we should have some kind of mandated health insurance, where every American has to buy a policy with a high deductible, and the individual has to pay above a certain point. People won't spend their money unless it's justified. It's the only way we can control costs.

Comment: "...one large insurance pool or one single payer..." ...reality sinks in.

Although Dr. Lundberg needs to brush up on the health policy implications of mandates, buy-ins, employment linkage, high deductibles, caps, and alternatives for cost containment, nevertheless, it is very reassuring to see that a highly respected and very ethical traditionalist recognizes the inevitable.