The history of our health care system, and the road not taken

Summary: “It’s that time of year again. Insurance companies that participate in the Affordable Care Act’s state health exchanges are signaling that prices will rise dramatically this fall,” Christy Ford Chapin writes over at The Conversation, in a thorough, thoughtful examination of how our health care system came to be — including an explanation of the roads not taken. “And if insurance costs aren’t enough of a crisis, researchers are highlighting deficiencies in health care quality, such as unnecessary tests and procedures that cause patient harm, medical errors bred by disjointed or fragmented care and disparities in service distribution.

“While critics emphasize the A.C.A.’s shortcomings, cost and quality issues have long plagued the U.S. health care system. As my research demonstrates, we have these problems because insurance companies are at the center of the system, where they both finance and manage medical care.

“If this system is so flawed, how did we get stuck with it in the first place?

“Answer: organized physicians.

“As I explain in my book, ‘Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System,’ from the 1930s through the 1960s, the American Medical Association, the foremost professional organization for physicians, played a leading role in implementing the insurance company model.” Christy Ford Chapin, “Why Insurance Companies Control Your Medical Care,” The Conversation.