Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders campaigning for extended US medicare coverage in 2017.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders campaigning for extended US medicare coverage in 2017.

Health politics or politics of health is an interdisciplinary field of study concerned with the analysis of political power over the health status of individuals.[1][2]

It critiques public health for professionalizing health and healthcare systems to an extent that it removes it from public engagement, depoliticizing it in the process.[3] This then transfers power away from the public body and into the medical profession and industry such that they can 'determine what health is and therefore, how political it is (or, more usually, is not)'.[1] Combining political science to the study of public health, health politics aims to understand the unique interplay of politics within this policy domain to locate the politics of health.[4]

"Among professionals in public health, the political system is commonly viewed as a subway's third rail: avoid touching it, lest you get burned. Yet it is this third rail that provides power to the train, and achieving public health goals depends on a sustained, constructive engagement between public health and political systems".[5] Here, public health's problems and issues are explicitly political as the world's health bodies and organizations are supported by national governments - making their solutions equally as political as well.[6][7] "If public health is the field that diagnoses and strives to cure social ills, then understanding political causes and cures for health problems should be an intrinsic part of the field".[8]

Background

A memorial to the Great Famine (Ireland), a famine event in Ireland that faced elongated suffering from the UK's domestic policy failures at the time under the Prime Ministers Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell.
A memorial to the Great Famine (Ireland), a famine event in Ireland that faced elongated suffering from the UK's domestic policy failures at the time under the Prime Ministers Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell.

Health politics is a joint discipline between public health and politics although, like many other interdisciplinary fields such as sociology, phenomenology or public policy, often incorporates approaches and methodologies of other related fields of study such as intersectionality.[9] It sits to realize the political nature of health, healthcare, and the wider public health and medical contexts that sit within it.[10][11]

A bibliometric search for 'politics of health' on PubMed found the earliest entry to be Schmidt's 1977 article "National Blood Policy, 1977: a study in the politics of health"[12] that was set within the United States.

Foucault, through his work in biopolitics, offers insight into health politics through his essay (English translation by Lynch, 2014) "The politics of health in the eighteenth century".[13]

Comparative health politics

Comparative health politics takes influence from comparative politics, a major sub-field of politics. It focuses on the interactions of health politics within a country or comparing the internal interactions countries, as opposed to international health politics.[14][15]

LGBT health politics

LGBT or gender and sexual minorities (GSMs)[a], through a complex history and ongoing discriminations, have a distinct sub-field within health politics. From the stonewall riots to the politics involved around HIV, GSMs' health status has been deeply influenced by the politics of any given time and geopolitical location.[16][17][18]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The terms used to describe the queer community are complex and has a politics of its own in terms of identity and recognition. Unless interacting with members of this community who can be asked what term is best, revert to using the most inclusive term.

References

  1. ^ a b Bambra, Clare; Fox, Debbie; Scott-Samuel, Alex (2005-06-01). "Towards a politics of health". Health Promotion International. 20 (2): 187–193. doi:10.1093/heapro/dah608. ISSN 0957-4824.
  2. ^ Greer, Scott L.; Bekker, Marleen; de Leeuw, Evelyne; Wismar, Matthias; Helderman, Jan-Kees; Ribeiro, Sofia; Stuckler, David (2017). "Policy, politics and public health". European Journal of Public Health. 27 (suppl_4): 40–43. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckx152. ISSN 1101-1262.
  3. ^ Burden, Barry C.; Fletcher, Jason M.; Herd, Pamela; Jones, Bradley M.; Moynihan, Donald P. (2016). "How Different Forms of Health Matter to Political Participation". The Journal of Politics. 79 (1): 166–178. doi:10.1086/687536. ISSN 0022-3816. PMC 5831556. PMID 29503463.
  4. ^ Carpenter, Daniel (2012-06-15). "Is Health Politics Different?". Annual Review of Political Science. 15 (1): 287–311. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-050409-113009. ISSN 1094-2939.
  5. ^ Hunter, Edward L. (2016). "Politics and Public Health—Engaging the Third Rail". Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 22: 436–441. PMC 4974059.
  6. ^ Gore, Radhika; Parker, Richard (2019). "Analysing power and politics in health policies and systems". Global Public Health. 14 (4): 481–488. doi:10.1080/17441692.2019.1575446. ISSN 1744-1706. PMID 30773135.
  7. ^ Bambra, Clare; Smith, Katherine E.; Pearce, Jamie (2019). "Scaling up: The politics of health and place". Social Science & Medicine (1982). 232: 36–42. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.04.036. ISSN 1873-5347. PMID 31054402.
  8. ^ Greer, Scott L.; Bekker, Marleen; de Leeuw, Evelyne; Wismar, Matthias; Helderman, Jan-Kees; Ribeiro, Sofia; Stuckler, David (2017-10-01). "Policy, politics and public health". European Journal of Public Health. 27 (suppl_4): 40–43. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckx152. ISSN 1101-1262.
  9. ^ Gkiouleka, Anna; Huijts, Tim; Beckfield, Jason; Bambra, Clare (2018). "Understanding the micro and macro politics of health: Inequalities, intersectionality & institutions - A research agenda". Social Science & Medicine (1982). 200: 92–98. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.01.025. ISSN 1873-5347. PMID 29421476.
  10. ^ Ghilardi, Giampaolo; Campanozzi, Laura Leondina; Ciccozzi, Massimo; Ricci, Giovanna; Tambone, Vittoradolfo (2020-04-25). "The political nature of medicine". The Lancet. 395 (10233): 1340–1341. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30168-9. ISSN 0140-6736. PMID 32334696.
  11. ^ Oliver, Thomas R. (2006). "THE POLITICS OF PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY". Annual Review of Public Health. 27 (1): 195–233. doi:10.1146/annurev.publhealth.25.101802.123126. ISSN 0163-7525.
  12. ^ Schmidt, P. J. (1977). "National Blood Policy, 1977: a study in the politics of health". Progress in Hematology. 10: 151–172. ISSN 0079-6301. PMID 337358.
  13. ^ Foucault, Michel (2014). "The politics of health in the eighteenth century". Foucault Studies: 113–127. doi:10.22439/fs.v0i18.4654. ISSN 1832-5203.
  14. ^ Sparer, Michael S. (2011-02-01). "Comparative Health Politics: The United States and the United Kingdom - Editor's Note". Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 36 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1215/03616878-1191081. ISSN 0361-6878.
  15. ^ Moran, Michael (1999). Governing the health care state : a comparative study of the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-4296-8. OCLC 42072238.
  16. ^ Epstein, Steven (2003). "Sexualizing Governance and Medicalizing Identities: The Emergence of `State-Centered' LGBT Health Politics in the United States". Sexualities. 6 (2): 131–171. doi:10.1177/1363460703006002001. ISSN 1363-4607.
  17. ^ Martos, Alexander J.; Wilson, Patrick A.; Meyer, Ilan H. (2017-07-10). Prestage, Garrett (ed.). "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health services in the United States: Origins, evolution, and contemporary landscape". PLOS ONE. 12 (7): e0180544. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180544. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 5503273. PMID 28692659.
  18. ^ Kollman, Kelly; Waites, Matthew (2009). "The global politics of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights: an introduction". Contemporary Politics. 15 (1): 1–17. doi:10.1080/13569770802674188. ISSN 1356-9775.

Further reading