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One Nation, Uninsured

Why the U.S. Has No National Health Insurance

Jill Quadagno

Publication Date - 09 October 2006

ISBN: 9780195312034

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A probing look at the forces that keep America the only industrialized nation without universal health care


Every industrial nation in the world guarantees its citizens access to essential health care services--every country, that is, except the United States. In fact, one in eight Americans--a shocking 43 million people--do not have any health care insurance at all.
One Nation, Uninsured offers a vividly written history of America's failed efforts to address the health care needs of its citizens. Covering the entire twentieth century, Jill Quadagno shows how each attempt to enact national health insurance was met with fierce attacks by powerful stakeholders, who mobilized their considerable resources to keep the financing of health care out of the government's hands. Quadagno describes how at first physicians led the anti-reform coalition, fearful that government entry would mean government control of the lucrative private health care market. Doctors lobbied legislators, influenced elections by giving large campaign contributions to sympathetic candidates, and organized "grassroots" protests, conspiring with other like-minded groups to defeat reform efforts. As the success of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-century led physicians and the AMA to start scaling back their attacks, the insurance industry began assuming a leading role against reform that continues to this day.
One Nation, Uninsured offers a sweeping history of the battles over health care. It is an invaluable read for anyone who has a stake in the future of America's health care system.

About the Author(s)

Jill Quadagno is the Mildred and Claude Pepper Eminent Scholar in Social Gerontology and Professor of Sociology at Florida State University. A past president of the American Sociological Association, she served as Senior Policy Advisor on the President's Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform in 1994.


"Briskly written...an excellent primer for anybody interested in picking up the reform banner today.... Fresh, engaging."--Jonathan Cohn, Washington Post Book World

"A strongly argued account that provides useful ammunition for anyone seeking to effect change in a medical system that willfully excludes so many who need it."--Kirkus Reviews

"An important book. Jill Quadagno provides an impressive array of historical evidence to advance original arguments for why the United States lacks a comprehensive health care system and why health insurance should be viewed as a social right. This book is must reading for those concerned about health care reform in the United States."--William Julius Wilson, author of When Work Disappears

"Readable and engaging.... Some of the most interesting portions come from Quadagno's own archival searches and her interviews with people who lived the history that she describes.... Quadagno's sustained focus on interest-group politics seems right on target."--New England Journal of Medicine

"The most comprehensive and up-to-date account of the power and effectiveness of interest groups in defeating a century of national health insurance reform campaigns. An impressive combination of theory and historical research...sets the parameters for the next round of debate."--Lawrence R. Jacobs, University of Minnesota

"A chilling historical account of how powerful groups with self-serving financial interests have successfully blocked attempts to enact national health insurance for seven decades.... Anyone eager to seek reform of our badly fragmented health care system must study its lessons and its blueprint for action; a task that will require nearly unprecedented political skills and monumental organizational prowess." --Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., author of On The Take: How Medicine's Complicity With Big Business Can Endanger Your Health

"Quadagno, a distinguished sociologist with a long-standing interest in policy, explores a century of government attempts to create universal health care and the powerful forces that have defeated those attempts.... Her sociological insights illuminate a path to reform."--Judy Goldstein Botello, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Table of Contents

    1. Doctors' Politics and the Red Menace
    2. Organized Labor's Health Benefits
    3. Provider Sovereignty and Civil Rights
    4. Don't Rock the Boat
    5. Cost Containment versus National Health Insurance
    6. The Revolt of the Corporate Purchaser
    7. The Insurers Triumphant
    8. Why the United States Has No National Health Insurance and What Can Be Done About It