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Politics and Political Complexities

  • By: Heather M. Zoller
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Politics can be understood at different, interconnected levels. Politics involve government policy making, debates, and elections. The subject of health has its own set of political complexities.

Governmental policy has a profound influence on public health, including funding Medicaid and Medicare, crafting health and safety regulation, determining the legality of drugs such as marijuana, and mandating caregiver behavior in areas such as physician-assisted suicide. More broadly, governmental economic policy and even international trade agreements affect levels of poverty and public spending in ways that heavily influence public health outcomes. Politics also encompass “private” decision making that takes place in social institutions (corporations, workplaces, nonprofits, voluntary associations) and in everyday life.

Communication is not just about the expression of political interests but also the formation of these ...

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