In our rapidly advancing scientific and technological world, many take great pride and comfort in believing that we are on the threshold of new ways of thinking, living, and understanding ourselves. But despite dramatic discoveries that appear in every way to herald the future, legacies still carry great weight - even in swiftly developing fields such as health and medicine. In ""History and Health Policy in the United States"", seventeen leading scholars of history, history of medicine, bioethics, law, health policy, sociology, and organizational theory make the case for the usefulness of history in evaluating and formulating health policy today. In looking at issues as varied as the consumer economy, risk, and the plight of the uninsured, the contributors uncover the often unstated assumptions that shape the way we think about technology, the role of government, and contemporary medicine. They show how historical perspectives can help policymakers avoid the pitfalls of partisan, outdated, or merely fashionable approaches, as well as how knowledge of previous systems can offer alternatives when policy directions seem unclear.
Rosemary A. Stevens is the DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholar in social medicine and public policy at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Stanley I. Sheerr Professor Emeritus of the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania. Charles E. Rosenberg is a professor of the history of science and the Ernest E. Monrad Professor in the social sciences at Harvard University. Lawton R. Burns is the James Joo-Jin Kim Professor of health care systems at the University of Pennsylvania.