Medicare and Medicaid
A Reference Handbook
by Greg M. Shaw
January 2021, 299pp, 6 x 9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7334-8
$65, £50, 57€, A90
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7335-5
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Almost accidentally, Medicaid, a program originally designed to help low-income single mothers and their children, has become the nation’s primary way of paying for nursing home care.

Medicare and Medicaid: A Reference Handbook provides an in-depth discussion of these two large government health insurance programs. It additionally addresses such related issues as health care, government spending, and socialized medicine.

Many Americans hold conflicting views on how to pay for health care. They fear that government involvement will either undermine the quality of care or cost taxpayers too much. However, over the past half-century, hundreds of millions of Americans have come to rely on government health insurance because they are elderly, low-income, or both.

Medicare and Medicaid: A Reference Handbook provides high school and college readers with a one-stop resource on these two government insurance programs. A background and history of the topic are followed by a chapter on problems, controversies, and solutions. Perspectives and profiles speak to current program strengths, political concerns, and problems. There is a strong focus on current program challenges and opportunities.

Moreover, most of the government documents referenced in a dedicated resources chapter are produced periodically, with updates accessible online, so the book should enjoy an enduring shelf-life. The volume closes with a glossary and bibliography.


  • Provides readers with a concise history of how Medicare and Medicaid have developed since their creation in 1965
  • Explains many of the most important current controversies in nonspecialist language
  • Through its inclusion of perspective essays from diverse viewpoints—those of providers, scholars, beneficiaries, and advocates—helps readers to appreciate how multidimensional Medicare and Medicaid are for nearly one-half of all Americans
  • Offers enough detail for readers to clearly understand the evolution of these programs while also being readily accessible
Greg M. Shaw, PhD, is professor of political science at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he teaches health care and social policy, among other areas. He is author of The Welfare Debate (2007), The Healthcare Debate (2010), and The Dysfunctional Politics of the Affordable Care Act (2017), all published by ABC-CLIO.

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
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  • Politics, Law, and Government
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  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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