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  • Cited by 29
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2015
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Book description

Ensuring America's Health explains why the US health care system offers world-class medical services to some patients but is also exceedingly costly, with fragmented care, poor distribution, and increasingly bureaucratized processes. Based on exhaustive historical research, this work traces how public and private power merged to favor a distinctive economic model that places insurance companies at the center of the system, where they both finance and oversee medical care. Although the insurance company model was created during the 1930s, it continues to drive health care cost and quality problems today. This wide-ranging work not only evaluates the overarching political and economic framework of the medical system but also provides rich narrative detail, examining the political dramas, corporate maneuverings, and forceful personalities that created American health care as we know it. This book breaks new ground in the fields of health care history, organizational studies, and American political economy.


Winner, 2016 Ralph Gomory Book Prize, The Business History Conference


'Christy Chapin's Ensuring America's Health changes the scholarly conversation about the history of our health care system. It explains how both public and private forces created Medicare in 1965 and how the 'insurance company model' of health care finance has prevailed ever since. This book is the best treatment we have of the historical dimensions of our current health care crisis and will prove to be an indispensable resource for historians and policy makers.'

Edward Berkowitz - George Washington University, Washington, DC

'A brilliant history of America's extended and expensive experience with the insurance company model of health care. Read it!'

Louis Galambos - The Johns Hopkins University

'Ensuring America's Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System is an important history of how US health care came to be dominated by the private insurance industry. Through impressive research and argumentation, Christy Ford Chapin examines how the 'insurance company model' rose to prominence and eventually to actual governance of health care consumers and practitioners … [this book] is an essential contribution to the historiography of the US health care system and will be of great interest to historians of medicine, policy, and business.'

Beatriz Hoffman Source: The American Historical Review

'There is a lot to like about the book; Chapin has done extensive research and relies on both primary and secondary sources as she provides evidence for her claims.'

Melissa A. Thomasson Source: EH.Net

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