The Misleading Language of Managed Care
Jacob S. Hacker
Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Theodore R. Marmor
Yale School of Management
University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform
The premise of this article is that the category "managed care", like many concepts now prominent in commentary about medical care, poses a barrier to credible analysis. A confused assemblage of market sloganeering, aspirational rhetoric, and business school jargon, the term "managed care" presupposes answers to central questions about contemporary health insurance and its evolution rather than helping to address those questions. The article first discusses the context in which managed care claims have arisen and outlines the diverse trends to which the category is regularly applied. We then suggest an alternative approach to characterizing these trends that breaks them down into their constituent elements -- managerial, financial, and organizational. Our core argument is that health policy research requires more neutral categories for making sense of past and projected developments in methods of reimbursement, techniques of management, organizational forms, and the distribution of risk.
JEL Classification: I11, I12, I18
Date posted: May 17, 1999
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