Bottom Line Debate
In less than two decades, a new for-profit medical industry—featuring large hospital chains—has emerged and altered the U.S. health system in far-reaching ways. The new chains, said the director of a recent study of for-profit health care, “are to the old ’doctor's hospitals’ what agribusiness is to the family farm.”1 They have generated controversy and concern.
Some view the massive doses of for-profit medicine as harmful to the basic mission and values of the health care system. To the degree that the “bottom line” prevails, these critics argue, the system will become unable to meet needs that cannot return a profit. Under such conditions, said Jack Christy, a senior policy analyst for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP),2 the real bottom line ...