The Bottom Line: Profit Motive in American Medicine
Unlike countries with nationalized or highly regulated health care systems, the US has a market-based capitalist system. The August 2015 issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics examines a quintessentially American medical ethics topic: how market forces, including the profit motives of corporate interests, shape the delivery of and payment for medical services. The market orientation of the US system influences medical education and physicians’ relationships with drug and device manufacturers; it affects the availability of drugs, patients’ ability to access and afford care, the type of treatment they are prescribed, and what happens when they can’t pay their hospital bills.
The all-payer rate setting model of pricing combines a uniform payment method with a single rate that all private and public insurers pay for a specific service, thus improving price transparency for patients.
AMA J Ethics. 2015;17(8):770-775. doi:
Medicine is a service industry, the product of which is health care, and its practitioners deserve remuneration. But to some, the notion of medicine as a road to personal wealth is an example of free-market economics gone awry.
AMA J Ethics. 2015;17(8):780-786. doi: