Author Affiliation: The Eisenhower Center for the Conservation of Human Resources, Columbia University, New York, NY.
Many US citizens believe that history can teach them very little, but
I disagree. Accordingly, in this article, I identify and discuss 10 major
encounters that I, a political economist and government consultant, have had
with the US health care sector over the last 70 years in the hope that my
reactions to these encounters may be of interest and of value to those whose
disciplines and experiences differ from mine.
These encounters had nothing to do with any personal need on my part
to seek medical or surgical treatment. I have had the good fortune of spending
only 1 night in a hospital when my tonsils were extracted at the age of 31—in
hindsight, a questionable procedure. Given this good genetic endowment, which
enabled my mother to live an active life until 1 day short of her 94th birthday,
it might be asked why I have had ongoing relations with the health care sector
throughout most of these last 7 decades, especially since World War II. The
answer is simple: the 3 years that I spent in the Medical Department of the
US Army between late 1943 and mid-1946 had an important influence in shaping
my post–World War II career. Although my primary interest continued
to be centered on human resources and employment, health policy became a strong
secondary focus and after 1980 was my primary area of research.
Ginzberg E. Ten Encounters With the US Health Sector, 1930-1999. JAMA. 1999;282(17):1665-1668. doi:10.1001/jama.282.17.1665