THE SYSTEM AND ITS TASKS
Health care serves a basic human need and for this reason is one of the oldest specialized human functions. Perhaps even before the recording of history, specialized personnel in the human group acquired some degree of healing art. Imperfect understanding, and perhaps even magic and mystery, characterize healing from the layperson’s point of view. Still today, the layperson views health care with varying degrees of awe, uncertainty, and suspicion. As experienced by many in the modern world, the outcomes of health care are uncertain, the cost unjustifiable, and the practitioners aloof.
The U.S. health care system shares many of the essential characteristics of health care throughout history and across the globe. ...