Poor People's Medicine

Poor People's Medicine : Medicaid and American Charity Care Since 1965

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Poor People's Medicine is a detailed history of the development and implementation of Medicaid since its beginning in 1965. Federally-aided and state-operated, Medicaid provides medical care to the poorest citizens of the United States. From acute hospitalization to long-term nursing home care, the nation's Medicaid programs pay virtually the entire cost of physician treatment, hospital stays, medical equipment, and prescription pharmaceuticals for the millions of Americans who fall within government-mandated eligibility guidelines. The product of four decades of contention over the role of government in the provision of health care, some of today's Medicaid programs are equal to private health plans in providing coordinated, high-quality medical care, while others continue to provide little more than bare-bones coverage to their impoverished beneficiaries. Starting with a brief overview of the history of charity medical care, Jonathan Engel presents the debates surrounding Medicaid's creation in 1965 and the compromises struck to allow federal funding of the nascent programs. He traces the development of Medicaid through the decades, as various states attempted to both enlarge the programs and more finely tailor them to their intended targets. At the same time, he describes how these new programs affected existing institutions and initiatives such as public hospitals, community clinics, and private pro bono clinical efforts. Along the way, Engel recounts the many political battles waged over Medicaid, particularly in relation to larger discussions about comprehensive health care and social welfare reform. Poor People's Medicine is an invaluable resource for understanding the evolution and present state of programs to deliver health care to America's poor.

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  • Paperback | 344 pages
  • 152 x 230 x 24mm | 498.96g
  • Duke University Press
  • North CarolinaUnited States
  • English
  • 0822336952
  • 9780822336952

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Review quote

"The book reflects extensive research and abounds with details, and its descriptions of historic events are enlivened by quotations from concurrent observers. . . . There is plenty to learn from "Poor People's Medicine "about the successes and shortcomings of our public policies toward making health care available to people who cannot otherwise afford it."--Harriet L. Komisar, "JAMA"

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Back cover copy

"Medicaid is a vital program, and providing medical care to the poor is a critical issue in contemporary health policy, but there long has been a gap between Medicaid's significance and academic attention to its historical evolution. There has not been nearly enough scholarship of the sort represented in "Poor People's Medicine," scholarship that sketches out the history of Medicaid, key changes in the program, and, crucially, the development of other medical care programs for the poor."--Jonathan Oberlander, coeditor of "The Social Medicine Reader," second edition

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About Jonathan Engel

Jonathan Engel is Associate Professor and Chair of Public and Healthcare Administration at Seton Hall University.

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Reviews from Goodreads.com