There are many components to this power distribution, but some of the more visible examples include the research and manufacturing of medical technology, massive pharmaceutical corporations, and the control of medical insurance/management. Some of the forces allowing the privatization of healthcare include historically consistent opposition to government interference and healthcare reform, the decline of programs like Medicare, and the high cost of medicine including materials and salaries that can be met by wealthy corporations.
Private businesses have not always been in control of healthcare systems. Physicians were largely independent prior to government interference near the dawn of the 20th century (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). Working within regulations, physicians became highly paid and respected professionals in the 1920s (PBS, 2011). At the same time, private insurance began to find an audience due to the increasingly high costs of healthcare. Costs continued to rise through the of the century as more advanced pharmaceuticals and procedures are introduced. Insurance rates increased with these expenses, giving rise to federally endorsed HMOs (health maintenance organizations) in the 1970s.
It was not until the 1980s that corporate American began to gain primary control of the healthcare system. Hospitals, pharmaceuticals, research labs, and many other components of the system were becoming businesses (if they werent already) and more people found themselves unable to afford health insurance. These trends continue to accelerate (Fisher, Bynum, and Skinner, 2009).
Examining the evolution of healthcare control provides valuable insight for current health care administrators. Evaluating and optimizing the operation of a healthcare organization must include a comprehensive consideration of the forces involved.