Political realities often deter policy modifications and refinements to correct unintended consequences. Stakeholders may recognize that a program or law is no longer well-targeted, but any attempt to modify can bring with it a new and uncertain policy and political process. Another theme frequently heard in the workshop discussion focused on the need for politicians to act promptly in response to a problem, even when the information- and science-base is deficient.

Students of health policy and health politics will find timely information and interesting insights in this monograph. While unintended consequences will continue to be part of the legislative process, a better understanding of this phenomenon is both useful and valuable.

Marion Ein Lewin


Office of Health Policy Programs and Fellowships

Institute of Medicine

August 2001

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