Taking Charge of Our Future: Improving Musculoskeletal Health Care for All Americans
Monroe Schneider, MD; Richard H. Gelberman, MD

To The Editor:

In his uplifting address, “The Academy on the Edge: Taking Charge of Our Future” (83-A: 946-50, June 2001), Dr. Richard Gelberman, as incoming President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, reported at the March 2001 annual meeting that the Academy’s special task force will include among its goals for the coming years an investigation of the inequities in the availability of medical care. Dr. Gelberman cited studies showing that black men with osteoarthritis of the hip are less likely to have joint replacement surgery than are white men and women despite the greater incidence in black men. He intends to improve this situation by presenting the results of investigations of this type to various governmental organizations responsible for health policy.

The task force, called The AAOS in 2005, should be applauded for its ­decision to undertake this cause. Although only racial discrimination is cited in Dr. Gelberman’s address, the failure of our country’s patchwork system of health insurance to ensure even marginal care for a large percentage of our people is a national scandal that deserves our attention. More than forty million Americans are without health insurance of any kind, and many ­millions more have seriously limited coverage and lack the means to obtain essential medication1 …

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