Social Security and Medicare are of compelling concern to
virtually all Americans because they impact lives so enduringly and
directly through the protection they afford and the costs they
entail. It is, indeed, the extraordinary social welfare commitment
these programs represent and their concomitant expense that provoke
such determined support and such fiscal concern. Kingson and
Berkowitz provide a thorough, balanced, and highly accessible
explanation of Social Security and Medicare. They explain the
dilemmas facing policymakers and describe, through historical
development, how the programs evolved and their present status. The
authors superbly convey the complexity of issues while also clearly
presenting the factual information essential to the understanding
and discussion. Such key considerations as the adequacy of
protection, the financing problems, issues of fairness, the
response to disability, and the health care needs of the elderly
are particularly focused on--the authors' are sensitive to the
social welfare nature of the programs. A truly essential book not
only for the classroom but the offices and living rooms of writers,
administrators, planners, policymakers, social service
practitioners, and the general public.
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