Social Security and Medicare: A Policy Primer

Social Security and Medicare: A Policy Primer

Social Security and Medicare: A Policy Primer

Social Security and Medicare: A Policy Primer


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.


Social Security and Medicare is a book that the nation needs. the two authors have provided us with both a genuine "policy primer" and a "call to action."

Social insurance, the authors remind us, is a part of a package of legislation that was passed over sixty years ago under the umbrella title of "Social Security." Today this legislation stands out, according to Senator Bradley of New Jersey, as "the nation's best expression of community." We have a tremendous stake in its future.

If we are one of the 41 million citizens who receive Social Security and Medicare benefits and we want to check up at anytime on the benefits we should be receiving, we will want to use this book in order to refresh our memories on the essential facts.

But this is not just a primer of facts. It is a policy primer--a fact that will be deeply appreciated by professionals and policymakers, as well as the average citizen. a reading of the entire book will make the reader understand that, as the authors put it, "myths and misinformation are the Achilles heel of Social Security and Medicare." They are right in alleging that an "open political dialogue through which policymakers and experts help explicate choices and their implications" is essential.

This book contains valuable information as to how and when Social Security and Medicare came into existence and how they have grown over the years.

There is a clear pointing up of the issues that now confront the two systems and that will confront them in the future. There also is a frank discussion of the proposed solutions to these issues, and the arguments that have been advanced for and against them. Running throughout these discussions is a clear pointing up of the conflicts in values that these issues and proposed solutions often present. For example, the authors spend a great deal . . .

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