This lucid and comprehensive book explores the ways in which the State, the market and the citizen can collaborate to satisfy people’s health care needs. It argues that health care is not a commodity like any other. It asks if its unique properties mean that there is a role for social regulation and political management. Apples and oranges can be left to the buyers and the sellers. Health care may require an input from the consensus, the experts, the insurers, the politicians and the bureaucrats as well.
David Reisman makes a fresh contribution to the debate. He argues that the three policy issues that are of primary importance are choice, equality and cost. He explores the balance between the patient, the practitioner and public opinion; the disparities in outcome indicators and access to medical care; and the escalation in prices and quantities at the expense of other areas of social life. Reisman concludes that, despite its significance for the individual and the nation, there is no single definition of health or health care. The maximand is a mix. Yet decisions have to be made.
This thought-provoking and insightful book will be of use to students and scholars of public policy, social policy and health economics. It will also be of interest to medical practitioners who want to situate hard choices about health and illness in a broad multidisciplinary context.