Analyzing Form, Function, and Financing of the U.S. Health Care System

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Analyzing Form, Function, and Financing of the U.S. Health Care System tells the story of the U.S. health care system by using a narrative approach identifying function rather than the more common data-driven focus on structure. It presents policy decisions we have made about our health care system and analyzes some of their consequences to better understand the choices we have. To facilitate this, the book is divided into four major sections.

Section I is mostly “about” the health care system. It describes several theoretical models that provide a foundation for the structure of the U.S. health care system. Section II provides a description of the form, or organization, of the U.S. health care delivery system. It presents a comprehensive overview of the entire health care delivery system, including identifying all levels of care.

Section III focuses on financing, beginning with a description of the economic and political values that determine how we finance our system. It describes health insurance, from the perspective of both the consumer and the provider, and discusses how money moves through the system. It concludes with a discussion and analysis of cost and cost control efforts.

Section IV describes some of the more important efforts in health care reform, including several targeted programs that are a significant part of the U.S. health care system, such as Medicare and Medicaid. It also describes other targeted programs within the U.S. health care system and explores how other countries with economies similar to that of the United States organize and finance their health care systems.