Social Welfare and Health Policy
The United States health care system is unique among those of other developed economies—most significantly because health care is not a legal right in the United States. Instead, it is considered an employee benefit and a privilege, unless one is over age 65 or of low income. The United States is the only developed country without some form of universal health care. Contributors to this volume represent an interdisciplinary group of academics, practitioners, and service delivery providers. The volume begins with a general examination of the politics of health and social welfare in the United States. It then focuses on the importance and role of consumers in the U.S. economy, and dilemmas associated with promoting consumer choice. It explores policy issues and challenges in three specific areas: controlling health care costs and protecting choice with respect to health care, the major challenges to informed choice in health care, and barriers to effective health care service delivery. Contributors explore changes and reforms that have been introduced within public and privately financed systems over the past ten years. Consumer Choice examines in a timely and efficient manner critical social and health policy issues—nationally and internationally—and the major challenges that face informed choice in health care and social policy. Policymakers, health care officials, and medical personnel in the United States and other countries will find this volume highly informative. Robert F. Rich is a professor of law, political science, medical humanities and social sciences, community health, and health policy and administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also director of the Health Law and Policy Program within the College of Law and director of the Office of Public Management within the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He is the author of five books and over fifty articles in the areas of health law and policy, federalism, information policy, and science and technology policy. Christopher T. Erb is a M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He specializes in the area of health and mental policy.
A lively and well informed set of essays about a vitally important topic in contemporary American Medical Care. [Consumer Choice ] sheds important light on the distinctions among consumer, patient, and citizens in matters of health." —Ted Marmor, Yale University School of Management