Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Law and ethics are both essential attributes of a high-functioning health care system and powerful explainers of why the existing system is so difficult to improve. U.S. health law is not seamless; rather, it derives from multiple sources and is based on various theories that may be in tension with one another. There are state laws and federal laws, laws setting standards and laws providing funding, laws reinforcing professional prerogatives, laws furthering social goals, and laws promoting market competition. Complying with law is important, but health professionals also should understand that the legal and ethical constraints under which health systems operate must themselves adapt if health systems science is to advance.


Law & ethics, health care systems, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, professional self-regulation, market competition, fraud, abuse, privacy, confidentiality, health insurance, informed consent to treatment, medical malpractice & redressing error, withholding & withdrawing care

Publication Title

Health Systems Science

Publication Citation

In Health Systems Science (Susan Skochelak, ed., 2d ed. Elsevier 2019).