Managed Care Backlash:

The View from Communities

October 1999
Journal of Health Policy, Politics and Law , vol.18, no.1 (October 1999)
Paul B. Ginsburg

he backlash against managed care continues to gain force. Current legislative agendas at both the state and federal levels suggest that policy makers are willing to contemplate stronger measures to regulate managed care and take more risks of increasing costs than was the case a year ago (Stauffer 1998). Private decisions on the part of employers that provide managed care coverage and by employees who have a choice of plan suggest an increasing demand for managed care products that involve fewer restrictions in accessing care.

In this short essay we present some evidence from the Community Tracking Study (HSC 1999; Kemper et al. 1996) that the backlash against managed care appears to be quite uniform, despite significant variation in local health care markets. We also argue that backlash has evoked responses from both private and public sector decision makers’ responses that are likely to reshape managed care. While these changes have produced more responsiveness to consumer concerns, they also have a potential downside in the form of higher health care costs and a loss of opportunity to improve quality.

For a full copy please visit Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. (Subscription required.)