This paper examines whether changes in medical markets may be making them more like other markets. The emergence of HMOs and other managed care systems appears to have increased the consumer's potential ability to make better comparative judgments about the price and quality of medical care, and also seems to have made medical care more like other goods. However, the evidence that medical care is a “reputation good” suggests that it is, in this respect, different from other goods. Finally, the social concerns about medical care use necessarily make medical care different.

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