Input and Output in Medical Care
Pub Date: January 01, 1992
Product Format: Essay
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Medical care has become a major public policy issue because of the rapid growth in spending on medical care and concerns about the universal availability of medical care. Most proposals to remedy the situation involve further exapnding the government's role in medicine. This essay suggests that the supposed cure is instead a major source of the problem. As a government involvement in medical care has grown, costs and physical input into medicine have risen sharply, while output has either fallen or risen far less rapidly. For example, hospital personnel per occupied bed multiplied nearly sevenfold from 1946 to 1989, and cost per patient day, adjusted for inflation, an astounding twenty-six-fold, while the number of occupied beds per thousand population fell by more than half. The essay outlines a solution involving the privatization of medical care and a major reduction in the role of government. The solution, however desirable, may not be politically feasible because of the opposition of persons who have a vested interest in the present system.