Is Physical Therapy Covered By Medicare?
It is well within the power of congress to
establish such a system, and many persons
would be interested to know how the health
of the nation may be cared for without the
nurse, the physician and the hospital.
It is not a question of whether the govern
ment should or should not take upon itself
the care of the health of the nation. That
already has been done in a large measure.
The question is: Do we want to and can we
set up a system which will give us better
If we can there is every reason to.
do so. The government has, under the
war-time amendments of the social-security
act, taken upon itself the care of the health
of the army, and the same may be done in
peace times whenever the nation thinks it
The question of who shall be the doctor
of this new system, who shall be the nurse in
the doctor's office, who shall be the phy
sician's assistant, who shall be the pharma
cist's assistant, must be solved before a sys
tem is worked out. Once these are settled
the system may be worked out.
The question of how to get from the pre
sent personal system of doctoring, in which
the doctor is responsible for the care of his
patients, to the new system of doctoring,
in which the patient is responsible for the
care of his health, is a very difficult one.
One of the questions is how far can we go
within our present system of medicine to
bring about the necessary changes?
There is no doubt that some of our local
mass-production methods of manufacturing
foods, such as the milk-pasteurizing and
bottling plants, are capable of a vast im
provement. There is no doubt that some of
our individual doctors are eager to get
their patients interested in good health and
are willing to avail themselves of any help
that they can get from the new system of
mass production of health care.
The question is not whether the new sys
tem is a good thing, but whether we can
It is already evident that the present sys
tem of medical care is breaking down.
The health of the nation is in a bad way.
Every day's news of the progress of sci
ence, of the latest developments in medicine
and surgery, makes the need for a new sys
tem more apparent. It may be that it will
take a great war to bring the nation to face
the necessity of a new system.
The war has brought to the surface the
most primitive instincts of the human na
ture. It has revealed the highest and most
democratic instincts of the human na
ture. It has brought the most generous
gifts of men, of women, of money and
material to the doorstep of the common
There are those who cannot give money,
but who are eager to contribute their time
to the work of the Red Cross. This is the
work of democracy and the war has made
easier the acceptance of a system of medi
cine that will take care of the health of the
The new system of health care may be
a new war measure. But it may be a more
far-reaching measure than the war. It
may be that the war has made it possible
for us to rise above the mere competitive
system of health care and a system of mass
production of health care may be the
There are two conditions, in particular,
which may force us to a change from the
present system of health care:
One is the ever increasing cost of medi
The other is the failure of the present
system to care for the health of the nation.
It is evident that the present system of
doctoring is not adequate to the needs of
the present social order. It cannot provide
for all the inhabitants of the United States,
or even for the inhabitants of any one city,
and in many cities it is impossible to get
The present system of paying doctors
by their services is not a proper system for
the new doctoring. It never has been. It
is not a system that can be made to cover
all the needs of all classes of people. It
is a system that has been gradually com
ing to a standstill because of the growing
needs of the people for medical aid.
The system of doctoring by fee-paying
patients is a system of the past. It is pre
cisely as old as the Crusades. It is a dis
tinctly medieval system. The people want
more and better medical care than the old
fee-paying system will provide.
Some medical men have said that they
would rather have the people sick than have
their medical care in mass production. If
this is true, it may be that the medical pro
fession is doomed to disappear. The pro
fession of the Middle Ages is gone.
The new system of medical care is in
the process of development and the
medical profession is playing a part in the
creation of this new system. More and
more doctors are adopting the new
methods to care for the health of the com