In order for a trauma surgeon to have an intelligent discussion with hospital administrators, healthcare plans, policymakers, or any other physicians, a basic understanding of the fundamentals of healthcare is paramount. It is truly shocking how many surgeons are unable to describe the difference between Medicare and Medicaid or describe how hospitals and physicians get paid. These topics may seem burdensome but they are vital to all business decision making in the healthcare field. The following chapter provides further insight about what we call “the basics” of providing medical care today. Most of the topics presented can be applied to all specialties of medicine. It is broken down into 5 sections. The first section is a brief overview of government programs, their influence on care delivery and reimbursement, and past and future legislation. Section 2 focuses on the compliance, care provision, and privacy statutes that regulate physicians who care for Medicare/Medicaid patient populations. With a better understanding of these obligations, section 3 discusses avenues by which physicians can stay informed of current and pending health policy and provides ways that they can become involved in shaping future legislation. The fourth section changes gears slightly by explaining how the concepts of trade restraint, libel, antitrust legislation, and indemnity relate to physician practice. The fifth, and final, section ties all of components together by describing how physician–hospital alignment can be mutually beneficial in providing patient care under current healthcare policy legislation.