Big Health

A large number of Americans tend to see the health care system as objectively and single-mindedly oriented towards the preservations of health in the best and most efficient possible way - this, perhaps, as a reflection of how doctors tend to be seen and trusted. Other Americans see with concern the market-based, money driven forces that have pushed medical practitioners in certain directions that may or may not incline towards health.  For instance, an average medical doctor sees patients for very limited time - in which only limited knowledge can be gained of the full picture of a patient’s health. These same doctors are also incentivized financially to offer pharmaceutical treatment instead of other kinds of intervention - exercise, lifestyle or stress adjustments. 

The entirety of incentives and forces surrounding the patient-doctor/nurse relationship is thus either seen with suspicion or trust (if it’s seen at all).  Those who distrust it might describe it pejoratively as Big Health - while those who do trust it, would call it something else like “the health care system.”


  • Some people see financial incentives and drivers behind health services as a problem – while others do not. What do you think?
  • Imagine that, starting tomorrow, you become CEO of every major company in the Big Health constellation. With all power at your fingertips, what would you do differently (or similarly) moving forward?    
  • If health care in our country was somehow magically free from any connection to money, how might it be better? How might it be worse?
  • What role does health care regulation play in depersonalizing health care?