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Article
Insurance Accounts: The Cultural Logics of Health Care Financing
Medical Anthropology Quarterly (2014)
  • Jessica Mulligan, Providence College
Abstract
The financial exuberance that eventually culminated in the recent world economic crisis also ushered in dramatic shifts in how health care is financed, administered, and imagined. Drawing on research conducted in the mid-2000s at a health insurance company in Puerto Rico, this article shows how health care has been financialized in many ways that include: (1) privatizing public services; (2) engineering new insurance products like high deductible plans and health savings accounts; (3) applying financial techniques to premium payments to yield maximum profitability; (4) a managerial focus on shareholder value; and (5) prioritizing mergers and financial speculation. The article argues that financial techniques obfuscate how much health care costs[,] foster widespread gaming of reimbursement systems that drives up prices and “unpool” risk by devolving financial and moral responsibility for health care onto individual consumers.
Disciplines
Publication Date
2014
Citation Information
Jessica Mulligan. "Insurance Accounts: The Cultural Logics of Health Care Financing" Medical Anthropology Quarterly (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jessica_mulligan/12/