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5_Medicalization, Markets, and Consumers - Conrad and Leiter

5_Medicalization, Markets, and Consumers - Conrad and...

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MEDICALIZATION, MARKETS AND CONSUMERS through one of two kinds of markets: mediated markets and private markets. In mediated markets, there is an indirect relationship between consumers, on the demand side, and medical producers or providers, on the supply side, with third party payers occupying an intervening role. Third party payers (typically private or public insur- ers) intervene in the exchange relationship between consumers and providers or producers in two ways: by defining what is "medically necessary" and then paying for only those goods and services that they have deemed medically necessary. The degree of control exercised by third partypayers varies, depend- ing upon the level of "management" of care being exercised. Managed care regulations dampen consumer demand for medical goods and services, particularly regarding access to new technologies (Mechanic 2002), reducing consumers' ability to purchase medical solu- tions to perceived health problems. Consumers who want medical goods or ser- vices but cannotobtain them through mediated markets may turn instead to private markets, depending upon the cost of the goods
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