Neither the definition nor the development of "policy" is clearly understood by many people. John Alexander McMahon, president of the American Hospital Association, was once asked what constituted policy. His response: "anything that's important." Campion's grasp of the critical elements and the evolutionary process from which policy positions emerge gives the reader a fascinating trip through America's complex medical system.
Using the American Medical Association (AMA) as a focal point for orientation, Campion initially introduces the reader to medicine and the AMA at the turn of the century with a review of the existing social, economic, and political forces surrounding medicine. With sufficient attention given to each of these forces, the gigantic strides made by American medicine are more readily understood. The advances in the public health environment, coupled with scientific and technological achievements, provide the backdrop for Campion's depiction of policy development as it is intertwined with societal needs.