by Rashi Fein, 240 pp, $20, Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press, 1986.
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This book is a historical account of national health insurance in the United States, and yet it is more. Unlike his economist colleagues, many of whom have narrow views, few concrete suggestions, and unclear motivations, Fein is extremely successful in melding economics, politics, history, and sociology. He exhibits a social conscience that seems to evade a growing number of people who consider themselves "health economists." Fein offers us both a sensitive account of the development of health insurance and the basic elements of a plan of action for the future.
For people unfamiliar with the origins of public and private insurance, this book proves particularly valuable. For example, Fein refers to the precedent-setting experience of the Baylor University Hospital in Dallas in 1929. At that time, much like today, there was concern over the growing number of unpaid patient-care bills. To reduce these, Dallas schoolteachers were the first to be
Evans RW. Medical Care, Medical Costs: The Search for a Health Insurance Policy. JAMA. 1987;257(20):2833-2834. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390200173043