Experts agree–the U.S. has achieved the most technologically advanced medical care system in the world and it provides the highest quality, most comprehensive medical education available. Can we conclude that our health care system is one of America's success stories? It appears–we cannot. However, amid growing concern over our health care system, there is far less agreement on what to do about it. Jennie Kronenfeld addresses major health care controversies confronting American society, health care professionals, and policymakers. This intriguing book focuses on the overlapping area between policy sciences and health care studies, particularly the cost, access, and quality of health care. Kronenfeld discusses whether our system can solve its problems, or whether we have a health care “system” at all. Do we have a national health care “policy,” or a web of state, county, and city policies? And, what of fundamental changes being adopted in the midst of the controversies surrounding reproductive health and abortion, mental health and behavioral health, disease patterns/physical health/AIDS, aging and long-term care, as well as the professions and facilities who provide care? A provocative examination of these important issues, Controversial Issues in Health Care Policy is essential reading for students of policy studies, health services, and sociology, as well as for policymakers, and health care professionals.
Chapter 2: Disease Patterns, Physical Health, and AIDS
Disease Patterns, Physical Health, and AIDS
Obviously one important part of health policy relates to how to improve the health status of the population. Thus one important goal of any national health policy is to improve health and well-being of the citizens of that country. As soon as we make such a statement, the next questions are: How is the health of a nation defined, and how will improvements in health be measured? Defining health has long been a thorny problem for analysts of the health care system.
A very traditional way to define health has been as the absence of disease or illness. This has become known as the negative definition of health. It is a negative approach both because ...