On the heels of widespread patient protection legislation in the states,the managed care industry abandoned or greatly scaled back the core elements of gatekeeping, utilization management, and financial incentives, which are the very targets of this legislation. This article explores whether, and to what extent, the industry's abrupt change in course can be attributed to these laws. Based on extensive interviews with key informants in six representative states, the article concludes that these laws were not the primary driver of changes in managed care practices. However, patient protection laws interacted with other social and market forces, through complex forms of feedback and reinforcement, to bring about more thoroughgoing change than would have otherwise occurred.

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