October 16, 1987

A Political Economy of Medicine: Great Britain and the United States

Author Affiliations

Center for Health Administration Studies University of Chicago

Center for Health Administration Studies University of Chicago


by J. Rogers Hollingsworth, 311 pp, $37.50, Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.

JAMA. 1987;258(15):2136. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400150128050

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Should physicians read this book? If you like history and are prepared to give serious consideration to the thesis that it has played a major role in what our health care system is like today or how physicians currently practice medicine —AA Political Economy of Medicine is worth a try.

Hollingsworth assumes, with considerable justification, that a comparison of the United States and Great Britain will improve our understanding of the evolution and performance of each system. His readable medical histories of the two systems from 1890 to 1970 suggest that the medical profession in both countries has been more powerful in shaping medical policies and performances of the medical system than have the majority of consumers, or patients. However, consumers have been relatively more powerful in England and Wales, and the medical profession has been relatively more powerful in the United States. He argues these differences contributed to