Health care reform as a strategy for dealing with the failures of politics
Health Care Reform and the Battle for the Body Politic
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Dan E. Beauchamp
While most studies of health care reform have focused on solving the market's failure, controlling costs, or providing universal access, Dan E. Beauchamp adeptly discusses health care reform as a strategy for dealing with the failures of politics--not just the failures of the health care market. As the former Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning for the New York State Department of Health, Beauchamp presents a revelatory first-person narrative about his work to develop a universal health care and insurance plan for New York State. His enlightening personal account includes discussions of his efforts to develop a national model of the New York plan for Mario Cuomo (during the period when the governor considered running for the Democratic nomination for president), and his perceptive critique of the failed Clinton plan for reform.
Beauchamp gets beyond topics like global budgets, rate-setting, and managed competition to outline the idea of health plans as a means for the public to come together in a way that will change forever the way we think about health care, which he calls "the battle for the body politic." A large part of engaging in the "battle," he argues, involves addressing and resolving racial and class divisions that have always underscored America's political reality. Ultimately, Beauchamp argues for a reform that would promote health and social equality, one that would change and strengthen our social awareness of health care as a common good.
"Dan Beauchamp is a singular and important voice in the ongoing health care debate. Instead of focusing on the technical details of health reform, he spins a compelling personal narrative, entices the reader into the truly important questions: How do health plans work politically? How can they change the way we think about health, health care and ourselves as a country? While economists focus on financing schemes, and bioethicists search for underlying values, Beauchamp probes how a health care system shapes our politics and affects our experience of who we are as Americans. His book is exceedingly valuable; it reveals just how much is at stake in health care reform."
Dan E. Beauchamp is Professor of Health Policy and Management at the School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany. He is also the author of Beyond Alcoholism: Alcohol and Public Health Policy and The Health of the Republic: Epidemics, Medicine, and Moralism as Challenges to Democracy (Temple).