Home to the world's most advanced medical practices, the United States spends more on health care than any other country. At the same time, treatment is harder to get in the United States than in most other industrialized nations. Benchmark statistics such as infant mortality and life expectancy reveal a society that is not nearly as healthy as it could be. This comprehensive analysis introduces the various organizations and institutions that make the U.S. health care system work-or fail to work, as the case may be. It identifies historical, social, political, and economic forces that shape this system and create policy dilemmas that are all too familiar. Donald A. Barr examines the structure of American health care and insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. He addresses the shift to for-profit managed care and how it may affect the delivery of care; the pharmaceutical industry and the impact of pharmaceutical policy; issues of long-term care; and the plight of the uninsured. The new edition also covers recent developments in areas such as prescription drugs, medical errors, and nursing shortages.