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Physician Sovereignty: The Dangerous Persistence of an Obsolete Idea. Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture on Health Policy

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  • David Lawrence

Abstract

The heart of the model is this: to quote Pogo, "We have met the enemy and it is us." We doctors are the problem, not because wqe are venal or self-serving or insulated from reality. Far from it. Most of us are hard-working, dedicated professionals. We are the problem, though, because of the way our profession developed in the 20th century. This model is no longer appropriate for what lies ahead. The notion of the sovereign physician comes from Paul Starr's 1982 work, "The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry.: Starr argues that the rise of the sovereign profession we know today was neither inevitable nor foreordained. It was instead the result of a long struggle to establish the modern medical profession in the face of other competitors and forces. Sovereignty is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It is its manifestations in medical practice, and its suitability for the future, that is of concern.

Suggested Citation

  • David Lawrence, 2009. "Physician Sovereignty: The Dangerous Persistence of an Obsolete Idea. Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture on Health Policy," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 40, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprpbr:40
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    health care; chronic disease; medical care; medical technology; health reform; physicians;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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