This book is not a compendium of every health policy or health policy initiative undertaken in Canada. Rather, the book explores some of the key developments in health policy in Canada and elsewhere. It does not see health policy as a process that simply requires management of health care facilities and human resources. It is a public policy area that is driven and influenced by social, political and economic forces.
An important theme in this volume is the impact of economic globalization on health policy and health care in Canada, and the impact of the market on health policy, not only in terms of health care provision, but also on the health-related public policy that shapes the heath of the population.
While it is true that the major health problems in the world today are found in developing nations, this volume focuses on health policy among developed economies such as Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and others.
Much of the existing health policy literature in Canada focuses on health-care policy to the exclusion of public policy that shape a jurisdiction’s population health. Public policy that influences population health through the provision of economic, political, and social resources is also health policy. This recognition — that what are now termed the social determinants of health strongly influence health outcomes — appeared during the nineteenth century writings of Rudolph Virchow and Friedrich Engels. The implications of this knowledge have been integrated into health policy in Europe, but less so in Canada. This book therefore considers the political, economic, and social forces that shape both health care policy and health-related public policy in Canada. By doing so, it aims to make understandable the processes and means of producing health policy in the service of health.
An Introduction to Health Policy is available through Canadian Scholars’ Press at www.cspi.org.