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In 1965, the United States government enacted legislation to provide low-income individuals with quality health care and related services. Initially viewed as the friendless stepchild of Medicare, Medicaid has grown exponentially since its inception, becoming a formidable force of its own. Funded jointly by the national government and each of the fifty states, the program is now the fourth most expensive item in the federal budget and the second largest category of spending for almost every state. Now, under the new, historic health care reform legislation, Medicaid is scheduled to include sixteen million more people.

Laura Katz Olson, an expert on health, aging, and long-term care policy, unravels the multifaceted and perplexing puzzle of Medicaid with respect to those who invest in and benefit from the program. Assessing the social, political, and economic dynamics that have shaped Medicaid for almost half a century, she helps readers of all backgrounds understand the entrenched and powerful interests woven into the system that have been instrumental in swelling costs and holding elected officials hostage. Addressing such fundamental questions as whether patients receive good care and whether Medicaid meets the needs of the low-income population it is supposed to serve, Olson evaluates the extent to which the program is an appropriate foundation for health care reform.

The issues constituting the history of medicine are consequential: how societies organize health care, how individuals or states relate to sickness, how we understand our own identity and agency as sufferers or healers. In Locating Medical History: The Stories and Their Meanings, Frank Huisman, John Harley Warner, and other eminent historians explore and reflect on a field that accommodates a remarkable diversity of practitioners and approaches.

At a time when medical history is facing profound choices about its future, these scholars explore the discipline in the distant and recent past in order to rethink its missions and methods today. They discuss such issues as the periodic estrangement of medical history from medicine, the influence of Foucault on the writing of medical history, and the shifts from social to cultural history and back again. Chapters explore the early history of the field, its transformations since the 1970s, and its prospects for the future.

With diverse constituencies, a multiplicity of approaches, styles, and aims is both expected and desired. This volume locates medical history within itself and within larger historiographic trends, to provide a springboard for discussions about what the history of medicine should be, and what aims it should serve.

Contributors: Olga Amsterdamska, University of Amsterdam; Warwick Anderson, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Allan M. Brandt, Harvard Medical School; Theodore M. Brown, University of Rochester; Roger Cooter, University College London; Martin Dinges, Institut für Geschichte der Medizin der Robert Bosch Stiftung; Alice Domurat Dreger, Michigan State University; Jacalyn Duffin, Queen's University; Elizabeth Fee, National Library of Medicine; Mary E. Fissell, The Johns Hopkins University; Danielle Gourevitch, École Pratique des Hautes Études; Anja Hiddinga, University of Amsterdam; Ludmilla Jordanova, University of East Anglia; Alfons Labisch, Heinrich-Heine-University; Hans-Uwe Lammel, University of Rostock; Sherwin B. Nuland, Yale University; Vivian Nutton, University College London; Roy Porter, formerly University College London; Susan M. Reverby. Wellesley College; David Rosner, Columbia University; Thomas Rütten, University of Newcastle upon Tyne; Heinz-Peter Schmiedebach, University of Greifswald; Christiane Sinding, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale