Health Care for Some

Author: Beatrix Hoffman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226348032
Format: PDF, ePub
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Examines the divisive issue of universal health care in the United States and offers an explanation as to why health care is not considered a right in America, as it is in most other nations.

Health Care for Some

Author: Beatrix Hoffman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226348059
Format: PDF, ePub
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In Health Care for Some, Beatrix Hoffman offers an engaging and in-depth look at America’s long tradition of unequal access to health care. She argues that two main features have characterized the US health system: a refusal to adopt a right to care and a particularly American approach to the rationing of care. Health Care for Some shows that the haphazard way the US system allocates medical services—using income, race, region, insurance coverage, and many other factors—is a disorganized, illogical, and powerful form of rationing. And unlike rationing in most countries, which is intended to keep costs down, rationing in the United States has actually led to increased costs, resulting in the most expensive health care system in the world. While most histories of US health care emphasize failed policy reforms, Health Care for Some looks at the system from the ground up in order to examine how rationing is experienced by ordinary Americans and how experiences of rationing have led to claims for a right to health care. By taking this approach, Hoffman puts a much-needed human face on a topic that is too often dominated by talking heads.

The Blues

Author: Robert Maris Cunningham
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780875802244
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A history of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield system, America's largest and oldest health insurer, from its beginnings to the 1990s. It draws on company archives and shows how its management has pursued the goal of health care coverage over seven decades of social and economic change.

Hidden Arguments

Author: Sylvia Noble Tesh
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813513157
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In this provocative book, Sylvia Tesh shows how "politics masquerades as science" in the debates over the causes and prevention of disease.Tesh argues that ideas about the causes of disease which dominate policy at any given time or place are rarely determined by scientific criteria alone. The more critical factors are beliefs about how much government can control industry, who should take risks when scientists are uncertain, and whether the individual or society has the ultimate responsibility for health. Tesh argues that instead of lamenting the presence of this extra-scientific reasoning, it should be brought out of hiding and welcomed. She illustrates her position by analyzing five different theories of disease causality that have vied for dominance during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and discusses in detail the political implications of each theory. Tesh also devotes specific chapters to the multicausal theory of disease, to health education policy in Cuba, to the 1981 air traffic controller's strike, to the debate over Agent Orange, and to an analysis of science as a belief system. Along the way she makes these prinicipal points: She criticizes as politically conservative the idea that diseases result from a multifactorial web of causes. Placing responsibility for disease prevention on "society" is ideological, she argues. In connection with the air traffic controllers she questions whether it is in a union's best interests to claim that workers' jobs are stressful. She shows why there are no entirely neutral answers to questions about the toxicity of environmental pollutants. In a final chapter, Tesh urges scientists to incorporate egalitarian values into their search for the truth, rather than pretending science can be divorced from that political ideology. Sylvia Noble Tesh, a political scientist, is on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Burdens of War

Author: Jessica L. Adler
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 1421422875
Format: PDF
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In the World War I era, veterans fought for a unique right: access to government-sponsored health care. In the process, they built a pillar of American social policy. Burdens of War explores how the establishment of the veterans’ health system marked a reimagining of modern veterans’ benefits and signaled a pathbreaking validation of the power of professionalized institutional medical care. Adler reveals that a veterans’ health system came about incrementally, amid skepticism from legislators, doctors, and army officials concerned about the burden of long-term obligations, monetary or otherwise, to ex-service members. She shows how veterans’ welfare shifted from centering on pension and domicile care programs rooted in the nineteenth century to direct access to health services. She also traces the way that fluctuating ideals about hospitals and medical care influenced policy at the dusk of the Progressive Era; how race, class, and gender affected the health-related experiences of soldiers, veterans, and caregivers; and how interest groups capitalized on a tense political and social climate to bring about change. The book moves from the 1910s—when service members requested better treatment, Congress approved new facilities and increased funding, and elected officials expressed misgivings about who should have access to care—to the 1930s, when the economic crash prompted veterans to increasingly turn to hospitals for support while bureaucrats, politicians, and doctors attempted to rein in the system. By the eve of World War II, the roots of what would become the country’s largest integrated health care system were firmly planted and primed for growth. Drawing readers into a critical debate about the level of responsibility America bears for wounded service members, Burdens of War is a unique and moving case study. -- Jennifer D. Keene, Chapman University, author of Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America

The Economic Evolution of American Health Care

Author: David Dranove
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400824687
Format: PDF, Docs
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The American health care industry has undergone such dizzying transformations since the 1960s that many patients have lost confidence in a system they find too impersonal and ineffectual. Is their distrust justified and can confidence be restored? David Dranove, a leading health care economist, tackles these and other key questions in the first major economic and historical investigation of the field. Focusing on the doctor-patient relationship, he begins with the era of the independently practicing physician--epitomized by Marcus Welby, the beloved father figure/doctor in the 1960s television show of the same name--who disappeared with the growth of managed care. Dranove guides consumers in understanding the rapid developments of the health care industry and offers timely policy recommendations for reforming managed care as well as advice for patients making health care decisions. The book covers everything from start-up troubles with the first managed care organizations to attempts at government regulation to the mergers and quality control issues facing MCOs today. It also reflects on how difficult it is for patients to shop for medical care. Up until the 1970s, patients looked to autonomous physicians for recommendations on procedures and hospitals--a process that relied more on the patient's trust of the physician than on facts, and resulted in skyrocketing medical costs. Newly emerging MCOs have tried to solve the shopping problem by tracking the performance of care providers while obtaining discounts for their clients. Many observers accuse MCOs of caring more about cost than quality, and argue for government regulation. Dranove, however, believes that market forces can eventually achieve quality care and cost control. But first, MCOs must improve their ways of measuring provider performance, medical records must be made more complete and accessible (a task that need not compromise patient confidentiality), and patients must be willing to seek and act on information about the best care available. Dranove argues that patients can regain confidence in the medical system, and even come to trust MCOs, but they will need to rely on both their individual doctors and their own consumer awareness.

Differential Diagnoses

Author: Paul V. Dutton
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801445125
Format: PDF, Kindle
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How has France assure universal coverage while protecting patient and practitioner freedoms? What can Americans learn from the French experience, and what can the French learn from the U.S. example?

Beginnings Count

Author: David J. Rothman
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0195111184
Format: PDF, ePub
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In the wake of the recent unsuccessful drive for health care reform, many people have been asking themselves what brought about the failure of this as well as past attempts to make health care accessible to all Americans. The author of this original exploration of U.S. health policy supplies an answer that is bound to raise some eyebrows. After a careful analysis of the history and issues of health care, David Rothman concludes that it is the average employed, insured "middle class"--the vaguely defined majority of American citizens--who deny health care to the poor. The author advances his argument through the examination of two distinctive characteristics of American health care and the intricate links between them: the ubiquitous presence of technology in medicine, and the fact that the U.S. lacks a national health insurance program. Technology bears the heaviest responsibility for the costliness of American medicine. Rothman traces the histories of the "iron lung" and kidney dialysis machines in order to provide vivid evidence for his claim that the American middle class is fascinated by technology and is willing to pay the price to see the most recent advances in physics, biology, and biomedical engineering incorporated immediately in medical care. On the other hand, the lack of a universal health insurance program in the U.S. is rooted in the fact that, starting in the 1930s, government health policy has been a reflection of the needs and concerns of the middle class. Playing up to middle class sensibilities, the American presidents, Senate and Congress based their policy upon the private rather than the public sector, whenever possible. They encouraged the purchase of insurance based on the laws of the marketplace, not provided by the government. Private health insurance and high-tech medicine came with a hefty price, with the end result that about 40 million Americans could not afford medical care and were left to fend for themselves. The author investigates the moral values underpinning these decisions, and goes to the bottom of the problem of why the United States remain the only developed country which continually proves unable to provide adequate health care to all its citizens.

Side Effects and Complications

Author: Casey B. Mulligan
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022628574X
Format: PDF
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The Affordable Care Act will have a dangerous effect on the American economy. That may sound like a political stance, but it’s a conclusion directly borne out by economic forecasts. In Side Effects and Complications, preeminent labor economist Casey B. Mulligan brings to light the dire economic realities that have been lost in the ideological debate over the ACA, and he offers an eye-opening, accessible look at the price American citizens will pay because of it. Looking specifically at the labor market, Mulligan reveals how the costs of health care under the ACA actually create implicit taxes on individuals, and how increased costs to employers will be passed on to their employees. Mulligan shows how, as a result, millions of workers will find themselves in a situation in which full-time work, adjusted for the expense of health care, will actually pay less than part-time work or even not working at all. Analyzing the incentives—or lack thereof—for people to earn more by working more, Mulligan offers projections on how many hours people will work and how productively they will work, as well as how much they will spend in general. Using the powerful tools of economics, he then illustrates the detrimental consequences on overall employment in the near future. Drawing on extensive knowledge of the labor market and the economic theories at its foundation, Side Effects and Complications offers a crucial wake-up call about the risks the ACA poses for the economy. Plainly laying out the true costs of the ACA, Mulligan’s grounded and thorough predictions are something that workers and policy makers cannot afford to ignore.

Precarious Prescriptions

Author: Laurie B. Green
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780816690466
Format: PDF, ePub
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In Precarious Prescriptions, Laurie B. Green, John Mckiernan-González, and Martin Summers bring together essays that place race, citizenship, and gender at the center of questions about health and disease. Exploring the interplay between disease as a biological phenomenon, illness as a subjective experience, and race as an ideological construct, this volume weaves together a complicated history to show the role that health and medicine have played throughout the past in defining the ideal citizen. By creating an intricate portrait of the close associations of race, medicine, and public health, Precarious Prescriptions helps us better understand the long and fraught history of health care in America. Contributors: Jason E. Glenn, U of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Mark Allan Goldberg, U of Houston; Jean J. Kim; Gretchen Long, Williams College; Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, Cornell U; Lena McQuade-Salzfass, Sonoma State U; Natalia Molina, U of California, San Diego; Susan M. Reverby, Wellesley College; Jennifer Seltz, Western Washington U.