In comparing two separate but related policy areas, Harris finds that democratization empowers elite professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, to advocate for universal health care and treatment for AIDS. Harris’s analysis is situated at the intersection of sociology, political science, and public health and will speak to scholars with interests in health policy, comparative politics, social policy, and democracy in the developing world. In light of the growing interest in health insurance generated by implementation of the Affordable Care Act (as well as the coming changes poised to be made to it), Achieving Access will also be useful to policymakers in developing countries and officials working on health policy in the United States.
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"Joseph Harris has written a masterful account about achieving access to health services and to AIDS medications in three countriesThailand, Brazil, and South Africa. His book explains both successes and failures in six case studies. He focuses attention on a new idea: the critical role of professional movements in driving policy reforms to expand access. The book offers both theoretical and practical lessons, and will be welcomed by policymakers, academics, and activists. It is an important and readable addition to the literature on achieving access."
"Through an in-depth analysis of three countries from different continents, this excellent book deepens scholarly understanding of the health care improvements resulting from democratization. In an innovative twist, Joseph Harris highlights how heightened political competition empowers progressive professional movements, which manage to promote poor people's medical needs and interests against considerable resistance."
"The excellent Achieving Access is very timely, and it helps us understand how specific policies came about (or didn’t) in Brazil, Thailand and South Africa. The reader feels intimately connected to the events that Joseph Harris describes. This is not just an account of lawyers and doctors, but of individual people."