Primary care is expected to redress many of the ill effects brought about by medical specialization and technology, but it is being advocated with the same uncritical enthusiasm as were earlier technological developments in medicine. This paper focuses on the fundamental question of whether primary care can accomplish the objectives it has adopted, and outlines examples of research that needs to be undertaken: (1) Research on new and old quasi-medical techniques (biofeedback, acupuncture) and how they complement traditional medicine. (2) Ascertaining the value placed on health care goals by the American public. (3) Developing cost-effectiveness concepts that can be understood and applied by clinicians and consumers. (4) Planning for education for physicians and paramedical personnel must be made more sensitive to future needs. (5) Much work remains to be done regarding quality of care, particularly developing methods to monitor both technical care and art of care, and measuring patient satisfaction with care.