orate strategy for as long as 20 years into the horizon like what Panasonic did when its founder Konosuke Matsushita was still alive; other firms normally plan a decade ahead. This paper deals with Kaiser Permanente which is the largest health care organization in the United States today. It has 8.6 million health plan members and employs a total of 14,600 doctors and 167,000 employees. This impressive business organization was the response to the Great Depression by industrialist Henry Kaiser and Dr. Sidney R. Garfield.
It was founded in 1938 because the United States is the only industrialized nation in the Western world not to have a national health plan or the so-called socialized medicine. The Kaiser Permanente operates on four core principles which are group medical practice, prepaid medical services, the focus of medical services is on prevention and the rendition of the whole set of medical services under one roof. These principles are the forerunners of what we today know as health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) by which a group of health-care providers are contracted to deliver specified pre-paid medical services to a defined group of enrollees or what is known today as health plan members (Boyer, 2001, p. 1).
Today, there are close to 700 health maintenance organizations nationwide. Most of them are for-profit organizations although many of them originally started as charitable or tax free organizations designed to provide medical care access on a broad democratic basis to all people who needed them. Because of lack in the US of any socialized or subsidized national health plan, the HMO gained widespread acceptance as logical alternative to fee-for-services arrangements that existed before but which some poor people can no longer afford due to high or escalating costs. The idea of HMO gained further traction because of its emphasis on health maintenance (preventive care) and managed care that seeks to minimize health costs. The two end results of