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October 23, 1996

Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy

Author Affiliations

Department of International Health School of Public Health Boston University Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1996;276(16):1353-1354. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540160075043

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


Intensive Care is an outstanding book. It is "the final product of the Renewing Congress project, a joint effort of the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution." Mann and Ornstein have carefully assembled eight elegant, lucid, and readable essays that provide the reader with a clear understanding of the congressional policymaking process in health: its complexity, what works, what doesn't, and why. It is rare to find a book that says so much so well about such an important topic and makes pragmatic, easy-to-understand recommendations for improving a flawed process.

The title may be too narrow, as it suggests the audience is only those interested in health and health policy. Although health policymaking—its weaknesses and options for improvement—is the theme, anyone interested in better understanding the federal process of policymaking and the role of Congress in this process will find Intensive Care a highly readable case study approach