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ABSTRACT

The current restructuring of the U.S. health care delivery system is driven primarily by economic forces. Although primary care providers may understand the roles of technology and advocacy in fostering fundamental change, they may not be familiar with the issues related to financing of health care and, thus, may not fully appreciate the extent to which economic factors influence the character of their professional lives and the services they provide. Analysis of the loss of the home birth option in the 1950s provides a method for understanding and influencing the factors driving health care restructuring today. In examining short-stay delivery in the 1990s, this article also addresses ways in which managed health care systems may improve or restrict women's access to a variety of primary care services.