Reagan administration health policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Reagan Administration health policy represents a major shift in direction in the commitment of the federal government in assuring that the health care needs of its citizens are met. The serious retrenchment in the scope and type of federal activity threatens to reverse progress made in the last fifteen years in improving access to preventive and primary care services for the vulnerable in our society - the poor, the elderly, the handicapped, and minorities. This retrenchment comes well before gaps in access to health care services have been eliminated. No positive agenda for dealing with pressing problems such as access to health care for the disadvantaged, long-term care needs of the elderly and disabled, emphasis on prevention, or direct restraints on inflation in health care costs has been advanced. As a result, the Reagan health policy, more than any other portion of the Reagan Administration economic and social strategy, threatens the very life and health of many of the nation's residents. The potential for a significant setback in life expectancy, degree of disability, and access to health care services to relieve pain and suffering of many of our nation's most vulnerable people is real. These changes are especially worrisome when viewed as only the first wave of what are certain to be further calls for reductions of funding and federal commitment. As the President indicated, the ultimate goal is the total elimination of federal government support for prevention, primary care, and other programs herded into block grants to states. This policy has been proposed rapidly, with little justification or documentation of its effects, and considered by the Congress with little public debate or even understanding. An informed and rational public policy requires the understanding and participation of all segments of society. It is hoped that the information contained here will contribute to that understanding and participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-332
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Public Health Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)

Cite this