POWER AND ILLNESS: The Political Sociology of Health and Medical Care by Elliott A. Krause

POWER AND ILLNESS: The Political Sociology of Health and Medical Care

Email this review


A studious dissection of the US health care system, which deplores its gross inequities and proposes a socialist alternative. Krause (Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern) explores an intricate network of factors to demonstrate how health care in this country--a profit-controlled ""two-party system""--is bound to the political, social, and economic structure: the supremacy of corporate interests over human needs and environmental hazards; budget allocations dependent on governmental in-fighting; bureaucratic efficiency models inappropriately applied to health care; racism, sexism, and ageism also in evidence; union tokenism and public school tracking which feed manpower hierarchies. Aware of both incidental and institutional aspects of this situation, he appraises the significance of doctor strikes and New York's Local 1199, commercial blood banks and malpractice policy rates, regulatory agencies and consumer activist strategies. Krause dismisses national health insurance and England's option system as band-aid solutions and values the Scandinavian procedure for its greater efficiency and elimination of ""pressure-group games."" But he offers instead an American National Health Service, a federal takeover that would nationalize all health care personnel, private suppliers, hospitals and clinics; encourage independently practicing nurses as primary-care practitioners; place medical colleges and hospitals under community control; and ultimately make private practice by physicians illegal. One may question this total solution--with its virtual neglect of human factors--and still appreciate his earnest, detailed analysis of a complex, critical issue.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1977
Publisher: Elsevier