Governing Health: The Politics of Health Policy / Edition 4

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Governing Health examines health care policy from a political perspective, describing how Congress, the president, special interest groups, bureaucracy, and state governments help define health policy problems and find politically feasible solutions. William G. Weissert and Carol S. Weissert provide a highly readable and comprehensive synthesis of political science research on how government and private institutions affect the policy process. Extensive reviews of the policies that have governed health care since Lyndon Johnson's administration are capped off with a prognosis for the future.

Updates to the fourth edition of Governing Health include • new examples and theory perspectives• recent statistics• discussion of the 2010 Obama health reform

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews


Weissert and Weissert have written one of the most comprehensive treatments of health care policy in the US... This case study is a must read due to its focus on strategies used by actors.

Journal of Health Politics

Even for those who have studied health policy extensively, the Weisserts’ book is so thorough (and absorbing) that one can expect to encounter new information, research findings, and insights.


Weissert and Weissert have written one of the most comprehensive treatments of health care policy in the US... This case study is a must read due to its focus on strategies used by actors.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421406213
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 8/2/2012
  • Edition description: fourth edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 204,216
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

William G. Weissert is a professor of political science at Florida State University and a professor emeritus at University of Michigan School of Public Health. Carol S. Weissert is the LeRoy Collins Eminent Scholar and a professor of political science at Florida State University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations vii

Introduction 1

Part I Health Policy and Institutions

1 Congress 15

2 The Presidency 79

3 Interest Groups 130

4 Bureaucracy 184

5 States and Health Care Reform 230

Part II Health and the Policy Process

6 The Policy Process 279

7 Problem to Policy 320

Conclusion 342

References 345

Index 385

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Best text on US health policy and politics, eminently readable

    The Weisserts have produced a masterpiece. It decribes the role and function of all the institutions of the federal government. But more importantly, their book, Governing Health, makes the policy process come alive. Sadly, you can understand just why the US can devote the most money of any industrialized nation to spending on health care yet produce such mediocre health outcomes. Yet the Weisserts achieve this without being pedantic or boring. For example, the summary of the factors that doomed the Clinton health plan are clear and compelling, and the discussion of the politics around the Medicare "Modernization Act" are thrilling for the politics junkies among us. Best of all, my students love Governing Health, regardless of their underlying political persuasion. They say it is interesting, well-written, informative, with something akin to a narrative flow that keeps you reading.

    I find that it is hard to teach a course on American policymaking these days, given the unsettling mixture of gridlock and vitriol in Washington. But I want my students to grasp not merely the current situation in which checks are more visible than balance. Fortunately, Carol and Bill Weissert show not only the challenges in making effective health policy but also the amazing and sometimes unexpected triumphs -- as well as the thrill of the chase.

    During our School's CEPH Accreditation visit, one of the visitors complemented me in my choice of a text on health policy and politics for Master's students in public health. He said it was the best text book he had seen in a nearly 30 years. And it would be good in political science courses as well. But most of all, it is a great book for anyone wanting an informative, well-written book on American politics.

    Catherine Hawes, Ph.D.
    Regents Professor

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