Introduction to US Health Policy: The Organization, Financing, and Delivery of Health Care in America

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Health care reform has been a dominant theme in public discourse for decades now. The passage of the Affordable Care Act was a major milestone, but rather than quell the rhetoric, it has sparked even more heated debate. In the latest edition of Introduction to US Health Policy, Donald A. Barr reviews the current structure of the American health care system, describing the historical and political contexts in which it developed and the core policy issues that continue to confront us today.

Barr’s comprehensive analysis explores the various organizations and institutions that make the US health care system work―or fail to work. He describes in detail the paradox of US health care―simultaneously the best in the world and one of the worst among developed countries―while introducing readers to broad cultural issues surrounding health care policy, such as access, affordability, and quality. Barr also discusses specific elements of US health care with depth and nuance, including insurance, especially Medicare and Medicaid. He scrutinizes the shift to for-profit managed care while analyzing the pharmaceutical industry, issues surrounding long-term care, the plight of the uninsured, the prevalence of medical errors, and the troublesome issue of nursing shortages.

The thoroughly updated edition of this widely adopted text focuses on the Affordable Care Act. It explains the steps taken to carry out the Act, the changes to the Act based on recent Supreme Court decisions, the success of the Act in achieving the combined goals of improved access to care and constraining the costs of care, and the continuing political controversy regarding its future. Drawing on an extensive range of resources, including government reports, scholarly publications, and analyses from a range of private organizations, Introduction to US Health Policy provides scholars, policymakers, and health care providers with a comprehensive platform of ideas that is key to understanding and influencing the changes in the US health care system.

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