Christy Ford Chapin

Ensuring America’s Health

The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System

Cambridge University Press 2015

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Christy Ford Chapin, an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has written a history of the funding of America’s...

Christy Ford Chapin, an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has written a history of the funding of America’s health care system: Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System (Cambridge University Press, 2015).  She begins with an account of the development of physicians’ practices in the mid-nineteenth century and traces the evolution of the American Medical Association’s role in shaping how physicians practiced medicine and how it was financed.  The advent of the insurance model for funding health care was a creation of the Progressive period and became dominant in the late 1930s, during the New Deal.  Chapin provides an account of the pitfalls of the insurance funding mechanism and recounts the battles between vested, competing interests, such as the AMA, independent physicians, corporate employers, labor unions, insurance companies (nonprofit and commercial), and the state and federal governments.  Each of these entities shaped the health care system we have today.  Chapin’s book helps explain how we got here and her critique of the insurance model suggests possible alternatives to our contemporary system of paying for health care.

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