About this book
This book is an economist's view of the health care marketplace. It exam ines the incentives of physicians, patients, firms and the role of government in the health care sector in a world of limited resources. Several themes run through this book. First, health care is a business. To an economist this means that firms maximize profits. Perhaps this is not always so, but I have yet to see a better theory of how health care firms behave. The health care industry, therefore, is not much different in eco nomic terms from other industries. At one time, economists pointed to the asymmetry of information between the physician provider and the patient as one difference between health care and other industries. Physicians often know a great deal about treating an illness while the patient knows little or nothing. But the movement toward managed care in the United States has partially closed the information gap (although perhaps creating other prob lems). Indeed, the advent of managed care has propelled health care into a business. Information is another theme of the book.
Industrial Organization Public Sector care competition economics economy health health care hospital insurance integration organizations regulation service trust