October 22, 2012
Dawn Chiabotti, PhD
Economic Terms and Health Care History
When we look at the history of health care economics we can clearly see that we have come a long way since that house call from the doctor to our ‘little house on the prairie’ days. We are no longer a small population of townspeople needing a teaspoon of medicine from the bottle, out of the doctor’s black bag, that seems to be a cure for almost any illness. We are now a nation of millions and we have numerous doctors, nurses, technicians and many other healthcare professionals to choose from. We have access to many health care services that provide us with many levels of care, and we have advanced in medical technology. These advances in health care have not come without their toll on the economy; the health care industry has become a trillion dollar empire. The reason for this is people value their health above most other things and are willing to spend their money to stay healthy.
Looking back at the history of health care economics we can see how economics has mastered its role of trading in this trillion dollar industry. Making money is the basic principle of economics, but to make money we must have goods and services to exchange with buyers and sellers in the market. The evolving industry of health care provides these goods and services to those buyers and sellers resulting in health care being at 16.8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product as of 2007 (Getzen & Moore, Chapter 1); the main reason for this is because people no longer have to pay out of their own pocket’s, but rather, they now rely on third-party financing. Let’s look back into health care history to understand why that is. First, that one time country doctor has been replaced with a team of nurses and specialists that each provides a unique service using advanced technological equipment. Hospitals that were once a place for patients with