Healthcare Providers

The unwavering central element of health care

The news is filled with divergent opinions on how health care should be financed in the United States. This debate, however, is really a thin veneer of a more fundamental and larger question. Where does the primary responsibility for the medical care of American citizens lie? The answer is likely within one or more of the four chief stakeholders of our health-care system: patients, physicians, hospitals and government.

Insight into this conundrum may be found in how medicine was practiced in older societies. While the diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of care have dramatically changed over the ages, exploring the history of the four main components of medicine in past civilizations...