Guide to U.S. Health and Health Care Policy

Thomas R. Oliver,

Guide to U.S. Health and Health Care Policy

About the eBook

The contentious passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 highlighted the incredible complexity and controversy surrounding health care in the United States. While the U.S. federal government does not provide universal health care, it has an extremely wide reach when it comes to the health of its citizenry. From important scientific and medical research funding to infectious disease control and health services for veterans and the elderly, the pathway to legislation and execution of health policies is filled with competing interests and highly varied solutions.

The Guide to U.S. Health and Health Care Policy provides the analytical connections showing researchers how issues and actions are translated into public policies and institutions for resolving or managing healthcare issues and crises. The Guide highlights the decision-making cycle that requires the cooperation of federal and state governments, business, and an informed citizenry in order to achieve a comprehensive approach to advancing the nation’s healthcare policies.

Through 30 topical chapters, the book addresses the development of the U.S. healthcare system and policies, the federal agencies and public and private organizations that frame and administer those policies, and the challenges of balancing the nation’s healthcare needs with the rising costs of medical research, cost-effective treatment, and adequate health insurance.  Additionally, the book comprehensively addresses significant disparities that exist in the U.S. system and the challenges to public health posed by our increasingly connected world.

Taking a comprehensive approach, the Guide traces policy initiatives across time and takes into account the most recent scholarship:


Part One: Evolution of American Health Care Policy

Looks at the emerging and expanding role of government in the health care sector and the position the U.S. occupies today as the only advanced industrial nation without universal health care.


Part Two: Government Organizations that Develop, Fund, and Administer Health Policy (1789-Today)

Examines the role each branch of government plays in the forming, executing, and regulating health care policies.  The authors examine the origins, organization, budget, and function of major government organizations including the FDA, CDC, and VA. An exploration of legal oversight and the roles states play in the health sector round out this section.


Part Three: Contemporary Health Policy Issues: Goals and Initiatives (1920s-Today)

Explores the wide range of players in the health care sphere and the role the government plays, particularly in funding them. Special attention is paid to policy issues surrounding medical research and medical professions. This section also looks at the ethical issues in play when making health policy and the inequalities that have plagued the U.S. health care system.


Part Four: Contemporary Health Policy Issues: People and Policies (1960s-Today)

This part of the book looks in-depth at health disparities in the U.S., health challenges particular to specific groups, mental health, obesity, and the influence of interest groups.


Part Five: U.S. Response to Global Health Challenges (1980s-Today)

The last section of the book looks beyond the borders of the United States and the serious challenges posed by our increasingly connected world.



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