History of American Medicine

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History of American Medicine Final Paper PART I(a) With the creation of Medicare in 1966 in order to expand access for the elderly to the American healthcare system, the ways in which medicine and its corresponding industries were conducted were irrevocably changed. Prior to its inception, only 65% of people over 65 actually had proper health insurance, as the elderly paid three times as much for healthcare as young people (Stevens, 1998). The private medical sector had much more control over who they would treat, how much they would charge, and more; the passing of Medicare freed up the elderly to have reasonable access to healthcare as a consequence of a lifetime of paying into the system. The way Medicare was originally organized, the concerns of physicians and their prerogatives were kept largely in mind. The federal government allowed physicians to remain autonomous in terms of how they ran their organization, and no state doctors were hired to provide competition. The purpose of Medicare was simply to offer a greater base of people the ability to benefit from health care and proper treatments for their conditions, thus offering physicians no competition from a rigid state system. Doctors could practice as they always did, but merely had a higher base of patients they could work on, their operations and procedures being paid for through government subsidies and Medicare. Medicare imposed much more change on an administrative level than a direct influence on the doctor’s practice, making their work relatively unchanged. Physicians were able to see as many elderly patients as they wanted without the fear of impoverishing them, and making sure that they themselves were also paid (Stevens 1998, p. 451). Another way in whi... ... middle of paper ... ...The solution for them is not to work around the clock for a cure by any means necessary (as in Seattle), but just to wall up the poor districts of the city and hope the sick die off. The lack of preventative or even active care in the treatment of the outbreak in Brownsville reveals a great deal about the way we frame disease as it relates to social class and race. Rich whites presume they are cleaner than poor minorities, and vice versa, which translates into the differences in the levels of response both outbreaks receive. By understanding this framing, we gain a better understanding of our reactions to disease and the assumptions we make about the people who contract them. References Stevens, R. (1998). Medicare: Triumph of the public voice. In American Medicine and the Public Interest: A History of Specialization. University of California Press.
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