By Eric R. Kingson, Edward D. Berkowitz
Social Security and Medicare are of compelling concern to virtually all Americans because they impact lives so enduringly and directly through the protection they afford and the costs they entail. It is, indeed, the extraordinary social welfare commitment these programs represent and their concomitant expense that provoke such determined support and such fiscal concern. Kingson and Berkowitz provide a thorough, balanced, and highly accessible explanation of Social Security and Medicare. They explain the dilemmas facing policymakers and describe, through historical development, how the programs evolved and their present status. The authors superbly convey the complexity of issues while also clearly presenting the factual information essential to the understanding and discussion. Such key considerations as the adequacy of protection, the financing problems, issues of fairness, the response to disability, and the health care needs of the elderly are particularly focused on--the authors' are sensitive to the social welfare nature of the programs. A truly essential book not only for the classroom but the offices and living rooms of writers, administrators, planners, policymakers, social service practitioners, and the general public.