• 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.

Reconfiguring Health Policy: Simple Truths, Complex Solutions
Reconfiguring health policy: Simple truths, complex solutions
Introduction

Neither health nor health care ‘just happens.’ To be sure, nature is powerful and the best laid plans gang aft agley, but in developed societies – the context for this chapter – we have considerable latitude to alter our individual and collective states, if not our fates (for in the long run, as Keynes famously put it, we are all dead). Health issues are often at the centre of public debate because health is usually defined more as a public good than a market commodity (particularly outside the United States). As a result, health policy is a powerful instrument that can literally shape destinies.

The title of this chapter implies that health policy ...

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