Christy Ford Chapin is an associate professor of twentieth-century U.S. political, business, and economic history as well as capitalism studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Professor Chapin has published articles in the Journal of Policy History, Studies in American Political Development, and the Business History Review. Her book, Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System (Cambridge University Press, 2015) won the 2016 Ralph Gomory Prize from the Business History Conference. Professor Chapin is now at work on a new project, “Flexible Finance: Finance Capitalism and the Evolving Culture of Risk.” She is currently a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University through a Kauffman Foundation Grant for the Study of the History of Capitalism. Professor Chapin has made numerous media appearances to discuss her work, appearing on podcasts as well as local and national NPR programs. Her pieces have appeared in the New York Times and online at the Huffington Post, Forbes, Dissent, and Time magazine, among others.
Ensuring America’s Health: Publicly Constructing the Private Health Insurance Industry, 1945-1970
Chapin’s dissertation explores how insurance companies became the primary financiers and coordinators of health care by evaluating how federal policy and debates interacted with two institutional levels: first, trade and professional associations and second, ground-level organizations such as individual firms and physician offices. She showed that by 1970, government policy had helped create an expensive, corporate model of health care. Cost problems were built into the system, because doctors behaved as semi-autonomous “managers” whose interests and pecuniary concerns diverged from those of the financiers - insurance companies. Chapin concludes that federal policy helped position insurance companies at the heart of a distinctive public-private system.