The Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy

By Joel Blau | Go to book overview

11
Health Care: Programs and Policies

Everyone gets sick. This fact of life injects a very personal emotion into discussions of health policy. You may be indignant about public assistance programs, think job training should be available to all, and fume at the cost of housing in your community. But few other topics in social welfare policy get people going as much as the experience of racing to a hospital emergency room, only to be asked how they intend to pay for the necessary treatment. Perhaps that is why, more than any other issue, health care is something that grips everyone.

These feelings arise from the paradox of U.S. health care. On the positive side, health care in the United States has many admirable features. Patients who have some potentially life-threatening diseases are very lucky to be pa- tients in the United States: with their access to advanced medical technology, American women who have breast cancer do better than women with breast cancer in Australia, France, Germany, or Japan.1But if you do not have health insurance, spend hours trying to straighten out your medical bills, or must fight your health maintenance organization (HMO) to get the next treatment, then the U.S. health care system is likely to make you quite angry.

It is not hard to identify some good reasons for this anger. U.S. social welfare policy treats health care as a commodity. Whether it is housing, cars, or health care, a commodity typically has a price in the marketplace, with more affluent people able to purchase a better-quality good or service. To

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The Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • I: Introducing Social Welfare Policy 1
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • 2: Mimi Abramovitz - Definition and Functions of Social Welfare Policy: Setting the Stage for Social Change 19
  • Ii: The Policy Model 55
  • 3: The Economy and Social Welfare 57
  • 4: The Politics of Social Welfare Policy 90
  • 5: Imi Abramovitz - Ideological Perspectives and Conflicts 119
  • 6: Mimi Abramovitz - Social Movements and Social Change 174
  • 7: Social Welfare History in the United States 220
  • Iii: Policy Analyses 278
  • 8: Income Support 279
  • 9: Jobs and Job Training 312
  • 10: Housing: Programs and Policies 337
  • 11: Health Care 373
  • 12: Food and Hunger 403
  • Iv: Conclusions 431
  • 13: If You Want to Analyze a Policy … 433
  • Notes 437
  • Figure Credits 479
  • Index 481
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