Describe the history and evolution of health care economics, and the timeline of health care funding.

Expert Answers
marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Before 1900, there really wasn't what you could call major health care in this country.  The American Medical Association (AMA) was just getting off the ground, hospitals were just getting established, doctors still made house calls and traded their services for goods, and people still used a lot of home remedies to treat their ailments.  Health insurance was unheard of!

But, between 1901 and the 1940's medicine and health care made some major leaps and bounds!  Hospitals became more and more important, advances were made in antiseptics and cleanliness, antibiotics were discovered, and several people were coming up with ideas for health insurance and employer medical benefits.  President Truman proposed a national health care plan, but it was shot out of the water by both the AMA and Congress.

By the 1960's, though, we started to see health insurance companies popping up all over, Social Security had been implemented, and Medicare/Medicaid had been signed into law.  HMO's came into existence in the 1970's and health care costs began to climb radically, eventually spiraling out of control!

Over the past fifty years, we've seen health care costs continue to rise to the point that some low-income families and the elderly are unable to get medical treatment.  Decentralization of the hospital care system has prompted private companies to enter the health care industry.  The 21st Century ushered in the biggest "can of worms" our health care system had ever seen!

Over the last ten years, several government officials have lobbied for a nationalized health care system, and finally on March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act became law.  The idea is to revolutionize the health care industry, cut down on insurance fraud, make sure everyone is able to get medical services and insurance, and bring down health care costs.  All this is supposed to be accomplished by 2014. 

Health care economics, as the Health Economics Research Institute HERI) says is . . .

"Exploring and testing better ways to organize and finance the system in order to improve patient care."

Their goal is to improve the delivery of medical services, fund innovative and cost-effective medical procedures, cut the costs of health insurance, improve the nation's health through prevention and better nutrition, and eliminate graft and corruption in the health care industry while raising it to a level that's consistent with the rest of the world.