The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Medicine and Public Policy |

The Corporate Compromise: A Marxist View of Health Maintenance Organizations and Prospective Payment

David U. Himmelstein, MD; and Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Requests for Reprints: David U. Himmelstein, MD; Department of Medicine, The Cambridge Hospital, 1493 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Himmelstein and Woolhandler: Department of Medicine, The Cambridge Hospital, 1493 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.

© 1988 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1988;109(6):494-501. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-109-6-494
Text Size: A A A

Recent developments in health care are strikingly congruent with a Marxist paradigm. For many years small scale owner producers (physicians) dominated medicine, and the corporate class supported the expansion of services. As health care expanded, corporate involvement in the direct provision of services emerged. This involvement is reflected not only in the rise of for-profit providers, but also in the influence of hospital administrators, utilization review organizations, insurance bureaucrats, and other functionaries unfamiliar with the clinical encounter, but well versed on the bottom line. Corporate providers' quest for increasing revenues has brought them into conflict with corporate purchasers of care, whose employee benefit costs have skyrocketed. This intercorporate conflict powerfully shapes health policy and has caused the rapid proliferation of health maintenance organizations and other forms of prospective payment. Corporate purchasers of care favor the incentives under prospective payment for providers to curtail care and its costs. For corporate providers, prospective payment has allowed increased profits even in the face of constrained revenues, because reimbursement is disconnected from resource use. Unfortunately, this corporate compromise serves patients and physicians poorly. Alternative policy options that challenge corporate interests could save money while improving care.





Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Submit a Comment/Letter
Submit a Comment/Letter

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.


Buy Now for $42.00

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Related Articles
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.