Title

Slouching Toward Managed Care Liability: Reflections on Doctrinal Boundaries, Paradigm Shifts, and Incremental Reform

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2001

ISSN

1748-720X

Publisher

American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics

Language

en-US

Abstract

Following the seemingly endless debate over managed care liability, I cannot suppress thoughts of Yeats’s poem, “The Second Coming.” It is not the wellknown phrase, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,” that comes to mind; although that could describe the feeling of a health-care system unraveling. The poem’s depiction of lost innocence — “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity” — does not allude to the legislature, the industry, the public, or the medical or legal profession. What resonates is the poem’s evocation of humanity’s cyclical history of expectation and disappointment, with ideas as grand as justice and occupations as pedestrian as managed care. Writing in 1919, Yeats described the end of an era with images of war’s destructive forces. The poem expresses a universal desire for some miraculous rebirth or resolution of all problems: “Surely some revelation is at hand.” But instead, the brutish Sphinx-like creature emerges, possibly the Antichrist. New gods displace old gods in the cycle of civilization, and man must muddle on.

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