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Books, Journals, New Media
November 6, 2002

Health Politics: Governing Health: The Politics of Health Policy

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2002;288(17):2183. doi:10.1001/jama.288.17.2183

The Weisserts have revised and updated their 1996 overview of health politics and policy aimed at readers whom they identify as policy analysts, health professionals, systems managers, and political scientists (p 5) but, surprisingly, not students.

The book is mainly about health care. The authors give only passing attention to other important areas of health policy. They devote only a few paragraphs to public health (pp 238-239, 326); they address biomedical research in parts of two paragraphs (pp 163, 166); and they do not describe the politics and policy of air and water quality, food safety, and those aspects of policy for housing and land use that affect health status. Moreover, they imply that economic incentives and ideology are the only drivers of health politics and policy. Like most political scientists who write about health, the Weisserts do not consider the effects of demography and the burden of disease on politics and policy. These factors are enormously significant for the costs and priorities of policy and help to determine the relative power of interest groups.