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Health Care Politics, Policy, and Services, Third Edition

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Health Care Politics, Policy, and Services, Third Edition

SKU# 9780826168979

A Social Justice Analysis

Author: Gunnar Almgren MSW, PhD

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This AJN award-winning textbook helps readers understand and critically assess the U.S. health care system and policies. With a focus on the prevalence of disparities in health and health care, the book reviews the historical evolution and organization of our health care system. Several social justice theories are used to critically evaluate current U.S. health care systems and policies, providing readers with various perspectives of the field. Extensive coverage of our health care system’s structures, finances, and performance on a variety of population health indicators provides the necessary background, frameworks, and principles through which the adequacy of alternative health care system financing strategies can be analyzed.

Highlights include:

  • Analyzes the current U.S. health care system and policies from several social justice theories, providing a critical examination of the field.
  • Examines the historical evolvement of the U.S. health care system, its financing and health care delivery structures, and the prospects for health care reform.
  • Analyzes disparities in access to health and health care by race, ethnicity, class, age, gender, and geography.
  • Compares the U.S. health care system with that of other democracies, providing a unique comparative perspective.

New to This Edition:

  • Revised chapter on health care reform that considers the 2016 election and anticipated changes to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Provides the latest information on the financing and organization of the U.S. health care system.
  • Examines the nation’s health care needs, the prevalence of health and health care disparities, and the latest theories that explain the causal origins of health and health care disparities.
  • Addresses the latest developments in health care policy domains such as long-term care, end-of-life care, and initiatives to reduce disparities in health.
  • Updated data on long-term financing and expenditures including baby boomers’ increased demand for long-term services and expanded entitlements for the disabled.
  • Updated instructor’s resources include for each chapter: chapter synopsis and learning objectives, ideas worth grasping, key terms and concepts, discussion questions, and writing assignments.

This book is an ideal text for graduate courses in health care policy or disparities in the U.S. health care system in schools of social work, public health, nursing, medicine, and public policy and administration.

Product Details 

  • Publication Date October 24, 2017
  • Page Count 346
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826168979
  • EISBN 9780826168986

About The Author(s) 

Gunnar Almgren, PhD, is Professor of Social Work and Social Welfare at the University of Washington, Seattle Campus. Prior to that, he was a social work practitioner and administrator in not-for-profit and public health care systems for 15 years. His teaching and research interests include health care policy, social welfare policy, poverty and inequality, safety-net health care systems, and the determinants of disparities in health and in health care. He is also the co-author of The Safety-Net Health Care System: Health Care at the Margins (Springer Publishing, 2012).

Table of Contents 



1. A Primer on Theories of Social Justice and Defining the Problem of Health Care

Defining the Problem of Social Justice

Alternative Theories of Social Justice

Concluding Comments: Alternative Theoretical Perspectives on “The Right to Health Care”



2. The Historical Evolvement of the U.S. Health Care System

Historical Evolvement of the Basic Components of the Health Care System: Hospitals, Doctors, Nurses, and Health Insurance

The Historical Evolvement of the Federal Government in Health Care

Concluding Comments: Prospects for Achieving Health Care Reform



3. The Contemporary Organization of Health Care: Health Care Finance

Health Care Expenditures

An Overview of Health Care System Finance—Employment-Based Health Insurance

An Overview of Health Care System Finance—Public Financing of Health Care

Concluding Comments: The Large Presence of Public Dollars in the Financing of Health Care



4. The Contemporary Organization of Health Care: Health Care Services and Utilization

The Mixed Public–Private Structure of the U.S. Health Care System

The Resources of the U.S. System: Facilities, Technology, and Human Resources

The Health Care System Safety Net

Concluding Comments: The Paradoxical Underachievement of the U.S. Health Care System



5. Long-Term Care of the Aged and Disabled

The Long-Term Care Services System

The Sustainability of Resources for Long-Term Care: Caregiving Labor and Public/Private Financing

Directions for Long-Term Financing Policy

Concluding Comments: A Social Justice Perspective on the Financing of Long-Term Care



6. Disparities in Health and Health Care

Conceptualizing Disparities in Health and Health Care

Measuring Disparities in Health and Health Care

Social Characteristics Associated With Disparities in Health and Health Care

Disparities in Health and Burden of Disease: General Findings

Concluding Comments: The Deep Roots of Disparities in Health Care



7. Social Epidemiology: Unraveling the Social Determinants of Disparities in Health

The Discipline of Social Epidemiology

The “Fundamental Social Causes” Hypothesis

Income Inequality as a Social Determinant of Health

Theoretical Debates Concerning Income Inequality Effects

Concluding Comments: Social Epidemiology as a Tool of Social Policy



8. Prospects for Just Health Care System Reform: A Political and Principled Analysis

The Social and Political Context of Health Care Reform

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The Politics of the ACA “Repeal and Replace”: Implications for the Social Right to Health Care

Concluding Comments: Toward a Progressive Vision of Universal Health Care