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How Did The U.S. Health Care System Develop, And How Has This Led To Problems In The Current System?

998 words - 4 pages

The United States health care system developed much in the same way that our country developed, by way of capitalism. Instilled within our system of values and political ideology and philosophy is the idea that a person should be able to take care of their own matters, that the duty of government is to provide equally for all for the public good, and that no infringement of personal liberties should be allowed in either case. Intrinsic in these views lays the foundations of capitalism and a "laissez faire" philosophy on many government dealings. Health care, in this sense, then followed the path of the development of business and industry in the U.S. The major changes in health care can be seen through the rise of the power of the physicians, the rise in the advancement of health care technology as well as the desire for Americans to have access to the newest procedures and medications, and the need for some form of healthcare insurance.Health care in the U.S., in its current state, really came to fruition in the early 20th century. This is a natural progression, as more population growth was occurring, and a greater need for infrastructure, both in the private and public sectors, was necessary. After World War II, the thought process in creating health care infrastructure veered away from any form of socialized healthcare (Mahar 4). This seems to be a major misstep, though it's understandable at the time why politicians and physicians would censure such ideas due to the heightened political atmosphere after the war. The founding of the AMA however, really placed the power and the profit in the hands of the physicians (Mahar 4-10). The physicians already had power over the patients through knowledge. Patients rely on doctors because they are trained professionals, with the knowledge to help and cure patients' medical conditions.A major factor that strengthens the power of physicians is America's view of advancing health care technology, and the need to utilize new procedures and medications. The United States is far behind the rest of the developed countries in terms of their life expectancies, but the cost for health care is much higher than all of the other developed countries as well (Cassel 6-7). This is due to the reliance on new technologies, and this problem is two-fold: on the one hand, pharmaceutical companies and medical technology producers push new drugs, prescriptions, and medical technologies and incentives are given to doctors to utilize this new technology (Mechanic 24-26). This is also coupled with the fact that nowadays; the American public is becoming more interested in these new technologies due to information provided, through advertising and other means, by the pharmaceutical companies themselves.As medical technologies, procedures, and medications continue to advance, the cost of providing such care also advances. In the first half of the 20th century, medical care was paid for out-of-pocket, by the patients themselves....

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