The Blues: A History of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield System

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This first complete history of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield system tells the story of America's largest and oldest health insurers, from their beginnings to the turbulent 1990s. Drawing on extensive company archives, Robert Cunningham III and Robert M. Cunningham, Jr. trace the development of the Blues' system and show how its management has pursued the goal of health care coverage over seven decades of social and economic change. Highly readable, this volume will interest all those who are concerned with the past and future of American health care.
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Editorial Reviews

New England Journal of Medicine
The book is instructive in its analysis of events over the past 70 years, and it offers lessons for those genuinely interested in understanding how the current health care system came to be. Most important, it reminds us that many issues in our system remain unresolved, such as the role of for-profit as compared with nonprofit entities in health care, the philosophical clash between market-based and regulatory strategies and policies, and the continuing search for answers to our problems with cost, quality, and access.
Commissioned by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, begun in 1988 by Cunningham, and taken over by his son in 1990 when illness forced the senior to stop working. Traces the birth of Blue Cross to coverage of doctor visits for teachers in Dallas in 1929, and the Blue Shield concept to covering hospital care in lumber and mining camps of the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the century. The network of independent, locally operated companies now insure about one in four Americans, but face challenges in the turbulent health-care industry of the 1990s. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875802244
  • Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Prepayment Pioneers 3
2 The Doctors' Dilemma 34
3 The 1940s: Challenges of Growth 56
4 The 1950s: Burdens of Leadership 88
5 The Double Bind: Health Care for the Elderly 118
6 The Intermediaries 145
7 The 1970s: Accountability and Discontent 171
8 The 1980s: Swimming with the Sharks 200
9 Old Wine, New Bottles 235
Glossary 255
Notes 265
Works Cited 287
Index 301
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