Why Health Care Costs Exploded After World War II

by Michel Accad

[Editor’s Note: This Q & A with Dr. Michel Accad, M.D. on the economic history of modern medicine covers the Great Depression to modern times. Part 1 covers the “pre-Flexner era” to the Great Depression.]

Q: What alternative models of health care payment were sought during the Great Depression?

A: Taken aback by the sudden surplus of hospital beds, and realizing that patients and families were not willing or able to use hospital services at the prices demanded, leaders of hospital associations and of medical associations, such as the American College of Surgeons, began to look for models of collective health care payment.

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