Beyond Medicine

Beyond Medicine

Why European Social Democracies Enjoy Better Health Outcomes Than the United States

Paul V. Dutton


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In Beyond Medicine, Paul V. Dutton provides a penetrating historical analysis of why countless studies show that Americans are far less healthy than their European counterparts.

Dutton argues that Europeans are healthier than Americans because beginning in the late nineteenth century European nations began construction of health systems that focused not only on medical care but the broad social determinants of health: where and how we live, work, play, and age. European leaders also created social safety nets that became integral to national economic policy. In contrast, US leaders often viewed investments to improve the social determinants of health and safety-net programs as a competing priority to economic growth.

Beyond Medicine compares the US to three European social democracies—France, Germany, and Sweden—in order to explain how, in differing ways, each protects the health of infants and children, working-age adults, and the elderly. Unlike most comparative health system analyses, Dutton draws on history to find answers to our most nettlesome health policy questions.


Paul V. Dutton:

Paul V. Dutton is Professor of History and Adjunct Professor of Health Sciences at Northern Arizona University. He is the author of Differential Diagnoses and Origins of the French Welfare State.