Who Determines How Medicine is Practiced?: A History of Physicians, Insurance Companies, and the U.S. Health Care System
This talk will explain why the U.S. health care system offers world-class medical services to some patients but is also exceedingly costly with fragmented care and increasingly bureaucratized processes. It is based on exhaustive historical research, the outcome of which was the speaker’s award-winning book, Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Insurance System (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Early in the twentieth century, both government and private power merged to favor a distinctive economic model that placed insurance companies at the center of the health care system—where insurers both finance and oversee medical care. Although the insurance company model was created during the 1930s, it continues to drive health care cost and quality problems today. Moreover, the insurance company model has developed to decrease the autonomy of physicians to practice as they see fit.
Christy Ford Chapin received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia. Her interests include political, economic, and business history. She is currently an associate professor of history and public policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), a fellow at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, and a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University. She has received numerous awards and fellowship, including, most recently, a Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress. Her work has been featured in either the publications or website articles of Time Magazine, Salon, Newsmax, Daily Beast, Forbes, Dissent, Business Insider, and the New York Times. Chapin has made a number of radio and podcast appearances, for example, on EconTalk, The Majority Report with Sam Seder, the Sean Hannity Show, On Point with Tom Ashbrook (NPR), and Freakonomics Radio.