The Evolution of Us Healthcare Essay

1651 Words Oct 6th, 2014 7 Pages
The Evolution of the U.S. Healthcare System

Between the years the beginning of 19th century and today, healthcare in the United States evolved from a simple system of home remedies and itinerant doctors with little training to a complex, scientific, technological, and highly bureaucratic system. The system is built on medical science and technology and the authority of medical professionals. Its evolution includes the acceptance of the "germ theory" as the cause of disease, professionalization of doctors, technological advancements in treating disease, the rise of great institutions of medical training and healing, and the advent of medical insurance. Governmental institutions, controls, health care programs, drug regulations, and
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The University of Pennsylvania opened the first medical college in 1765 and the Massachusetts Medical Society (publishers of today's New England Journal of Medicine), incorporated in 1781, sought to license physicians. Medical schools were often opened by physicians who wanted to improve American medicine and raise the medical profession to the high status it enjoyed in Europe and in England. With scientific training, doctors became more authoritative and practiced medicine as small entrepreneurs, charging a fee for their services.

In the early 1800s, both in Europe and in the United States, physicians with formal medical training began to stress the idea that germs and social conditions might cause and spread disease, especially in cities. Many municipalities created "dispensaries" that dispensed medicines to the poor and offered free physician services. Epidemics of cholera, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and yellow fever, and concerns about sanitation and hygiene, led many city governments to create departments of health. It was in the face of epidemics and poor sanitation, government-sponsored public health, and healthcare that private healthcare began to systematically diverge.

As America became increasingly urbanized in the mid 1800s, hospitals, first built by city governments to treat the poor, began treating the better-off. Doctors, with increased authority and power, stopped traveling to their sickest patients and began treating them all

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