Health Planning in the United States and the Decline of Public-Interest Policymaking

June 2006 | Evan M. Melhado

In the 1960s and 1970s, health planning formed a major theme of American health policy. Planners aimed to improve health services and make them broadly available while using resources efficiently. This article provides a history, both intellectual and political, of the origins of planning, its rise, and-in the face of mounting problems-its decline. The story also illustrates broader changes in the culture of policymaking in American health care. From the Progressive Era through the 1960s, reform-minded experts in health worked to advance the public interest. Thereafter, they increasingly left behind public-interest ideals and their underlying extramarket values in favor of organizing and improving health care markets. Whatever the deficiencies of traditional policymaking may be, this study suggests the need to resurrect extramarket values in health policy.

Author(s): Evan M. Melhado

Keywords: health planning; health policy; policymaking; history of medicine

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Volume 84, Issue 2 (pages 359–440)
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0009.2006.00451.x
Published in 2006