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Mother of InventionHow the Government Created "Free-Market" Health Care$
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Robert I. Field

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746750

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746750.001.0001

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The Government and the Private Market in Health Care

The Government and the Private Market in Health Care

(p.24) 2 The Government and the Private Market in Health Care
Mother of Invention

Robert I. Field

Oxford University Press

The American health care system, which appears on its surface as a predominantly private endeavour, actually rests on a foundation of government support. Itreflects a huge public-private partnership that drives one-sixth of the economy. Four key sectors poignantly demonstrate this dynamic. Pharmaceutical manufacturing depends on the National Institutes of Health for research funding and on the Food and Drug Administration for public reassurance of safety. The hospital industry depends on Medicare for a large share of its revenue. The medical profession garnered public trust from regulatory oversight that it developed in collaboration with state governments, and many specialties rely heavily on Medicare for reimbursement. And private insurance companies depend on a huge tax subsidy for employment-based policies and on opportunities to administer coverage under Medicare and Medicaid. The public-private relationship is complex with industry segments routinely capturing their regulators, yet it represents the system’s defining economic paradigm.

Keywords:   Pharmaceuticals, Hospitals, Medical Profession, Health Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Tax subsidy, Health care employment

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