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Medicine and Public Policy |

Health and Health Services in the United States: A Perspective and a Discussion of Some Issues

EDWARD J. BURGER JR., M.D.
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▸Address reprint requests to Edward J. Burger, Jr., M.D., Science and Technology Policy Office, National Sciences Foundation, Washington, DC 20550.


Washington, D.C.


Ann Intern Med. 1974;80(5):645-650. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-80-5-645
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National investments for health in the United States have risen very rapidly and are considered very large. Costs and prices of health care have forced a public examination and discussion of many other health-related issues, one of the most important of which is the productivity of health investments (where output is measured in units of health or its equivalent). Despite public expectations of a fairly direct relation between investments in health (expenditures) and health (output), such a relation has been increasingly difficult to show. This may be a result of the crude nature of the indicators, simple inflationary characteristics of the inputs, and severe but nonmonetary limitations of the output. The validity of any one of these reasons has profound implications for public policy.

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