The numerous efforts made to force medical or health...

Boston Republican

The numerous efforts made to force medical or health legislation of a certain kind through the various legislatures have attracted very little popular attention. Thanks to the American disposition to look askance at efforts to obtain class legislation, those who have sought to place restrictive and repressive measures on the statutes to the injury of their fellow-citizens have almost invariably failed. But the efforts in this direction have been unremitting, and while the legislation sought has, as a rule, been refused, the interest demanding it had not been compelled to go away entirely empty-handed. Politicians strong enough to resist demands that they knew would, if granted, arouse public indignation, have been keen enough to recognize the influence of the applicants for this legislation and complaisant enough to give a sop where they have withheld a prize.

The giving and acceptance of many sops has increased, enlarged, and strengthened many health boards and bureaus, and assisted very materially in building up a powerful medico-political body within each of the several states. It is safe to say that the number of allopathic physicians occupying public positions in the entire United States, counting those in municipal, state, and national employment, would far exceed one hundred thousand. These and their brethren who are not as yet in public office dominate the public medical service of the nation.

Within the last three years they have broken loose from their old environments and have become more ambitious, more hungry for power. Through the agency of a great association they have succeeded in enlisting the attention and the sympathy of certain influential public men. What they propose now is that the government shall turn over to them exclusive authority in all matters relating to the health of the people. Through a bureau or department which they aim to create by act of Congress, they hope to become established and entrenched so securely in power that they will be able to dictate to the individual citizen just how he shall take care of his own health and of the health of those dependent upon him. And through the operation of federal law they expect to be able to exercise forcible authority over any person unwilling to accept their dictation, and to be able to send to jail anybody who has the temerity to practise medicine, or to attempt to heal the sick, in a manner, or after a method, objectionable to what they may call their ethics or their rules or their laws.

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