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In recent years, bitter partisan disputes have erupted over Medicare reform. Democrats and Republicans have fiercely contested issues such as prescription drug coverage and how to finance Medicare to absorb the baby boomers. As Jonathan Oberlander demonstrates in The Political Life of Medicare, these developments herald the reopening of a historic debate over Medicare's fundamental purpose and structure. Revealing how Medicare politics and policies have developed since Medicare's enactment in 1965 and what the program's future holds, Oberlander's timely and accessible analysis will interest anyone concerned with American politics and public policy, health care politics, aging, and the welfare state.

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.

As a toast to success, a drowning of sorrows, a rite of passage, and the fuel for most social activities, alcohol plays a central role in our culture. Alcohol generates nearly $160 billion in US revenues annually and is a major source of tax revenue, making the stakes in the modern debate over its use, misuse, and regulation staggeringly high. Factor in the costs of alcohol-related illness and addiction, alcohol-related deaths, evolving social mores, legal precedents, and increasingly aggressive advertising and marketing and an already controversial subject becomes a heated, vigorous, and complicated battle.

Synthesizing the divergent, interdisciplinary perspectives on alcohol sales, regulation, and consumption into a cohesive whole, Social and Economic Control of Alcohol: The 21st Amendment in the 21st Century draws on the expertise of key academic and legal figures to become the seminal volume in this burgeoning field of inquiry. Amidst a rapidly changing milieu of regulations, cultures, and emotions, it objectively re-examines issues surrounding the regulation and sale of alcohol with unparalleled breadth, depth, and unbiased focus.

The book examines the foundation and basis for our current regulatory policy and how that foundation has shifted dramatically with changes in the law, marketing, consumer influence, and the impact of alcohol on society. With strong and relevant comparisons to historical studies and evaluations of past legislation, this book presents a critical analysis and definition of concepts and applications regarding alcohol control.

Double-blind, peer-reviewed contributions outline specific concerns related to the development of new laws and policies, and consider how those policies may affect individuals, organizations, law, and society in general. Highlighting current findings and trends, this volume allows for a better understanding of the potential correlation and causal relationship between regulation, sales, and consumption patterns.

In this provocative book, Sylvia Tesh shows how "politics masquerades as science" in the debates over the causes and prevention of disease.Tesh argues that ideas about the causes of disease which dominate policy at any given time or place are rarely determined by scientific criteria alone. The more critical factors are beliefs about how much government can control industry, who should take risks when scientists are uncertain, and whether the individual or society has the ultimate responsibility for health. Tesh argues that instead of lamenting the presence of this extra-scientific reasoning, it should be brought out of hiding and welcomed. She illustrates her position by analyzing five different theories of disease causality that have vied for dominance during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and discusses in detail the political implications of each theory. Tesh also devotes specific chapters to the multicausal theory of disease, to health education policy in Cuba, to the 1981 air traffic controller's strike, to the debate over Agent Orange, and to an analysis of science as a belief system. Along the way she makes these prinicipal points: She criticizes as politically conservative the idea that diseases result from a multifactorial web of causes. Placing responsibility for disease prevention on "society" is ideological, she argues. In connection with the air traffic controllers she questions whether it is in a union's best interests to claim that workers' jobs are stressful. She shows why there are no entirely neutral answers to questions about the toxicity of environmental pollutants. In a final chapter, Tesh urges scientists to incorporate egalitarian values into their search for the truth, rather than pretending science can be divorced from that political ideology. Sylvia Noble Tesh, a political scientist, is on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Praise for HANDBOOK of HEALTH SOCIAL WORK SECOND EDITION

"Handbook of Health Social Work, Second Edition is a crucial addition for seasoned practitioners' libraries, as well as an essential foundation for fledgling social workers ready to enter health as a practice and research area."
–From the Foreword by Suzanne Heurtin-Roberts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

"The book's strengths include the high quality of writing and the expertise of its contributors. It covers the field of health social work in significant depth and is sure to leave readers well informed."
–Mary Sormanti, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia University School of Social Work

"Quite simply, this is the definitive volume for health and social work. In this second edition, Gehlert and Browne and their expert contributors have confidently managed to keep pace with current theory and empirical research across a wide range of subject matter that will be of interest to practitioners, educators, and researchers."
–Michael Vaughn, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, School of Public Health, and Department of Public Policy Studies, Saint Louis University

Thoroughly revised and updated, the only comprehensive handbook of its kind covering the diverse field of health social work

Now in its Second Edition, Handbook of Health Social Work provides a comprehensive and evidence-based overview of contemporary social work practice in health care. Written from a wellness perspective, the chapters cover practice and research areas ranging from chronic disorders to infectious disease, from physical to mental disorders, and all areas in between.

An excellent resource preparing social workers for the present and future challenges of practice in the field of health care, the Handbook of Health Social Work, Second Edition features discussion on:

  • New trends in social work and health care, including genetics, transdisciplinary care, as well as national and state changes in policy
  • Health social work and children
  • The wide array of roles performed by social workers in health-care settings
  • Ethical issues and decision making in a variety of arenas
  • Understanding of community factors in health social work

Edited by two respected leaders in the field of health social work, this second edition includes contributions from a diverse team of notable experts, researchers, and scholars addressing multiple theoretical foundations, models, issues, and dilemmas for the social worker in health care. The resulting resource offers both a foundation for social work practice in health care and a guide for strategy, policy, and program development in proactive and actionable terms.

Donner Prize-winning author Dr. David Gratzer (Code Blue) edits and introduces this collection of twelve essays on health care reform in Canada, advocating an open-minded approach to such concepts as privatization, two-tier health care, and user fees. Gratzer has assembled a stellar list of authors who invite Canadians to question their confidence in government-managed public health.

Contributors include Order of Canada member and University of Toronto professor Michael Bliss, who argues that our current problems are the result of increasingly aggressive government measures to control patients and health-care providers. Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente offers vignettes that address the day-to-day problems of health care: queue jumping, excessive waits, provider burnout, aging equipment, and the politicization of health administration. And, Vancouver-based health analyst Cynthia Ramsey places Canada’s health care system in an international context. Her findings are unsettling.

Other contributors include McGill economist and National Post contributor William Watson, former Quebec Medical Association president Dr. Edwin Coffey, former Ontario Medical Association president Dr. William Orovan, and Urban Futures Institute executive Director David Baxter.

All Canadians concerned about the state of health care in Canada should read this informative and intelligent collection.

A systematic presentation of social, economic, and medical information designed to help administrators assess resources and define objectives.