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The aim of this book is to present the reader with a comprehensive overview of the U.S. health care delivery system. A central theme running through the book revolves around the fact that Americans have expressed a high level of dissatisfaction with the country's health care arrangements for many years, yet have been unable to come up with reforms that would address the main point of dissatisfaction: the steadily rising cost of care. One of the primary objectives of the book is to provide a clear explanation of the health insurance arrangements operating in this country; both public, such as Medicare, and private, which is generally employment-based. The workings of structures that combine payment and provision of health care services, namely H.M.O.s (Health Maintenance Organizations), are described in detail. The health care systems developed by other countries are examined to illustrate how this country's 'unsystematic system' differs from those in most other highly industrialized countries. Special attention is directed to hospital and health occupational trends. Statistics gathered by government agencies and researchers associated with various nonprofit organizations are used to illustrate points of discussion. The final chapters of the book address attempts to control costs and changes promoted by sponsors of the most recent reform plans.
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Grace Budrys is professor of Sociology and Director of the School of Health and Public Service at DePaul University. She has written numerous books on the disparities in U.S. health care, including When Doctors Join Unions, and Unequal Health.Review:
Although it is difficult to cover such a broad area in a short amount of space, Budrys does a great job of presenting the perspective of healthcare as a social institution that is molded and revised on a societal level. This is an excellent book. (Kimberly R. Barber)
Our Unsystematic Health Care System is the most accessible discussion of the political-economy of health care that I have ever come across. It is highly readable for an undergraduate audience, even for students outside the sociology major, which is something I have not found elsewhere. (Lara Foley)
Our Unsystematic Health Care System is a unique and highly welcome resource. Its succinct but rich introduction to the U.S. health care system make it an indispensable resource for undergraduate courses. (Michael Ash)
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