The Forgotten Plague

A MURDEROUS DISEASE WAS RAVAGING THE SOUTH. THEN ONE BRAVE AND DETERMINED DOCTOR DISCOVERED THE CURE—AND NOBODY BELIEVED HIM.

Oblivion is a virtue in a disease. Cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and even tuberculosis are too much with us, but hardly anyone knows what pellagra is because the disfiguring deadly illness is virtually nonexistent in America today.

For the first third of this century, pellagra was a scourge across the American South, killing thousands and afflicting hundreds of thousands more. Its cause was unknown, and there was no treatment, let alone cure. Victims were shunned like lepers, and by 1914 the sickness was a national scandal.

 
 
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Clio And The Clintons

An Interview With the President and the First Lady

On a busy Wednesday morning last August, President and Mrs. Clinton found an hour to speak with me in the Oval Office of the White House. Defense Secretary William Perry and Attorney General Janet Reno were preparing for a live noontime conference in the West Wing press room to announce new legal policy regarding Cuban refugees; the taken-for-dead crime bill would finally pass the fol- lowing day; the tumult over the future of the President’s health-care proposals was still very much in the air.Read more »

How America’s Health Care Fell Ill

As modern medicine has grown ever more powerful, our ways of providing it and paying for it have gotten ever more wasteful, unaffordable, and unfair. An explanation and a possible first step toward a solution.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about modern medicine is just how very, very modern it is. Ninety percent of the medicine being practiced today did not exist in 1950. Just two centuries ago medicine was an art, not a science at all, and people—whistling past the graveyard—joked that the difference between English doctors and French ones was that French doctors killed you while English ones let you die.Read more »

The State Of Medical Care, 1984

Americans have never been so healthy, thanks to advances in medical technology and research. Now we have to learn to deal with the staggering costs.

 

FEW PEOPLE ARE as well qualified to assess the U.S. medical scene as David E. Rogers. Formerly chairman of the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University and then dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and medical director of Johns Hopkins Hospital, he has since 1972 been president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation was established on a modest basis in 1936 by Robert Wood Johnson, head of the pharmaceutical concern of Johnson & Johnson.Read more »

The Birth Of Social Security

Had Franklin D. Roosevelt not been so conservative, we might have had national health insurance forty years ago

Judged by its direct and profound I influence upon individual and collective lives, no social legislation in all American history is more important than the Social Security Act of August, 1935. And of no other New Deal measure is the legislative history more instructive for one who would understand the essential nature and central purpose of the Roosevelt administration, and the ways in which the mind, character, and temperament of Franklin D. Roosevelt had major shaping impact upon today’s America. Read more »