Ill-tempered invective by a former president of the American Medical Association, railing against bureaucrats, malpractice lawyers, the press, and others whose morals or behavior offend him—and demanding a return to the days when doctors were ``well respected'' and medical care was ``available to all regardless of ability to pay.'' ``The Golden Age of Medicine'' is how Annis describes the era before LBJ's Great Society programs, when the author, now an octogenarian, was practicing family medicine and general surgery in Florida. Annis makes those years sound like an idyllic time for both doctors and patients: Bills were simple, patients paid promptly, and local medical societies ensured that physicians were both competent and ethical. Annis begins by relating his growing involvement with the AMA's fight against ``socialized medicine,'' a fight allegedly lost because of ``demagoguery,'' ``media distortion,'' and ``the cunning of the Americans for Democratic Action.'' He then describes the present state of health care, indeed the present state of our troubled society. As he sees it, where capitalism operates, society is productive, with community pride and strong family values; where socialism prevails, we find drug abuse, crime, violence, ignorance, and disrespect for authority and self. The key to the health-care crisis, then, is to let the free-market economy operate. Annis credits the National Center for Policy Analysis with a plan that will give people the freedom to choose their own health care and the ability to use their own earnings to pay for it. Details are sketchy. Strident and rancorous rhetoric by an experienced partisan- -one who knows how to attack but fails to persuade.
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