"The United States health care system is unique among those of other developed economies--most significantly because health care is not a legal right in the United States. Instead, it is considered an employee benefit and a privilege, unless one is over age 65 or of low income. The United States is the only developed country without some form of universal health care.Contributors to this volume represent an interdisciplinary group of academics, practitioners, and service delivery providers. The volume begins with a general examination of the politics of health and social welfare in the United States. It then focuses on the importance and role of consumers in the U.S. economy, and dilemmas associated with promoting consumer choice. It explores policy issues and challenges in three specific areas: controlling health care costs and protecting choice with respect to health care, the major challenges to informed choice in health care, and barriers to effective health care service delivery. Contributors explore changes and reforms that have been introduced within public and privately financed systems over the past ten years.Consumer Choice examines in a timely and efficient manner critical social and health policy issues--nationally and internationally--and the major challenges that face informed choice in health care and social policy. Policymakers, health care officials, and medical personnel in the United States and other countries will find this volume highly informative."