Enormous changes have recently swept through the organization and delivery of medical care. Scholars and students of the health care system and its politics try to make sense of the shift in power to identify and allocate needed resources away from physicians and toward corporate firms. I suggest that we cannot understand managed care unless we understand its power as at least substantially due to its reliance on a claim to be better science. In this way, managed care needs to be placed within an analytic historical tradition that is concerned with how accounts of scientific objectivity become convincing and support (and are confirmed as scientific by) social and political objectives. In this way, managed care reflects what I call the technocratic wish: an appeal to objective measures to resolve contentious issues and/or clothe their resolution as scientifically logical and natural.
Research Article|April 01 1997