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Thoughts on old age and the welfare state: political economy, history, and health policy

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Author: Cole, T. R.
Year: 1985
Type: Journal Article


An analysis of the history of aging & the welfare state in the U.S. from the nineteenth century. A political economy perspective focuses on differential employment & income opportunities available to the aged that are inherent in the social organization of production, while modernization views treat the aged as a homogeneous group & attribute their declining status to demographic, technological, & bureaucratic changes in modern society. The "citizens wage" perspective of John Myles (Old Age in the Welfare State, Boston: Little Brown, 1984) is preferred, particularly for explaining the passage of Social Security & the dramatic growth of welfare benefits since the 1960s. However, Myles's analysis ignores health policy & mistakenly assumes that all elderly benefit equally from welfare. The current three-tiered system of health care for the elderly practiced by Medicare & Medicaid, in which the poor & downwardly mobile have difficulty receiving needed services, is found morally unacceptable.

Further Details

Full Title Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Pages 869-873
Volume 33
Issue 12
Accession Number 28.3.03
Keywords North America, older, health improvement, policy compliance

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