Introduction to Health Policy uniquely integrates an introductory overview of health policymaking with an examination of critical policy-related issues
Introduction to Health Policy is organized in four parts: an introduction, an overview of health policymaking, a health policy issues section, and a discussion of health policy research and analysis. Chapter 1, the sole chapter in part I, introduces key terms related to, and the determinants of, health and health policy. It lists the key stakeholders in health policymaking and presents important reasons for studying health policy. The chapter lays the foundation for the rest of the book.
Part II—containing chapters 2, 3, and 4—examines the policymaking process at the federal, state, and local levels; in the private sector; and in international settings. Chapter 2 focuses on the policymaking process at the federal level of the US government. Important activities within the three policymaking stages—policy formulation, policy implementation, and policy modification—are described. The key characteristics of health policymaking in the United States are analyzed, and the role of interest groups in making policy is discussed.
Chapter 3 focuses on the US policymaking process at the state and local levels and in the private sector, which includes the research community, foundations, and private industry. Examples of policy-related research by private research institutes and foundations are described. The impact of the private sector’s services and products on health and policy is illustrated using the fast-food industry as well as tobacco and pharmaceutical companies as examples.
Chapter 4 discusses international health policymaking. The World Health Organization (WHO) is presented as an example of an international agency involved in policymaking related to health and major health initiatives. Three countries—Canada, Sweden, and China—are highlighted to illustrate diverse policymaking processes in distinct geographic regions. The experiences of these countries show that different political systems and policymaking processes lead to diverse approaches to population health and healthcare delivery.
Part III—encompassing chapters 5, 6, and 7—examines the policy issues related to social, behavioral, and medical care health determinants; to people from diverse or medically or socially vulnerable populations; and to international health. Chapter 5 describes how US healthcare is financed and delivered. Private and public health insurance programs are summarized, and the subsystems of healthcare delivery—managed care plans, safety net providers, public health programs, long term care services, and military-operated healthcare—are introduced. After summarizing the major characteristics of US healthcare delivery, the chapter provides examples of health policy issues related to financing (cost containment) and delivery (healthcare workforce, professional accreditation, antitrust regulations, patient access to care, and patient rights).