Salve Lucrum: The Existential Threat of Greed in U.S. Health Care

Don Berwick
January 30, 2023
JAMA Network

view of cement sidewalk from street level with blue wall in background and the words "for profit" written on edge of curb
Photo: George Pagan III, Unsplash

“In the mosaic floor of the opulent atrium of a house excavated at Pompeii is a slogan ironic for being buried under 16 feet of volcanic ash: Salve Lucrum, it reads, “Hail, Profit.” That mosaic would be a fitting decoration today in many of health care’s atria.

The grip of financial self-interest in US health care is becoming a stranglehold, with dangerous and pervasive consequences. No sector of US health care is immune from the immoderate pursuit of profit, neither drug companies, nor insurers, nor hospitals, nor investors, nor physician practices.”

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