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July 18, 1986

Shapers of American Health Care Policy: An Oral History

Author Affiliations

Rye, NY


by Lewis E. Weeks and Howard J. Berman, 345 pp, $26.50, Ann Arbor, Mich, Health Administration Press, 1985.

JAMA. 1986;256(3):409. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380030111044

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Reading this interesting book reminds one of the old saw about a volume entitled An Objective Account of the War Between the States—Written From the Viewpoint of the South. One does not have to turn many pages to gather that the "shapers" depicted are nearly all people connected with the hospital industry and that the "health care policy" detailed is looked at mostly from the viewpoint of hospitals and their leaders.

Readers looking for the perspective of organized medicine about the same era (roughly the last 50 years) should turn to Frank Campion's excellent book The AMA and US Health Policy Since 1940. Those looking for historical and economic viewpoints could tackle Rosemary Stevens or Paul Starr.

Despite its somewhat restricted scope, this book makes fascinating reading. It employs the modern technique of oral history, in which the participants in certain important events or activities are interviewed separately. The taped