• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This is the first international and inter-disciplinary social science Handbook on health and medicine. Five years in the making, and building on the insights and advice of an international editorial board, the book brings together world-class figures to provide an indispensable, comprehensive resource book on social science, health and medicine. Pinpointing the focal issues of research and debate in one volume, the material is organized into three sections: social and cultural frameworks of analysis; the experience of health and illness; and health care systems and practices. Each section consists of specially commissioned chapters designed to examine the vital conceptual and methodological practice and policy issues.

Resources and Rationing: Managing Supply and Demand in Health Care
Resources and rationing: Managing supply and demand in health care
Introduction

Third-party payment for the health care of individuals is virtually ubiquitous and represents the majority of health-care expenditure in developed countries. Although both the assumptions that underpin such systems and their forms vary, all third-party payment systems function by disconnecting to various degrees the process of health care consumption from that of payment. One consequence of this disconnection is the reduction (again, to various degrees) of the disincentive to consume, with the further consequence that demand for health care tends to inflate over time. A still further consequence is that third-party payers must in some way manage the relationship between the demand for and supply of ...

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