This essay presents data on the thinking of health policy elites in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany. These three national groups are compared in terms of the values they perceive health policy should serve and their conceptions of appropriate policies for realizing these values. The different values and policy conceptions are then related to various propositions as to why social policies differ across nations, particularly to the hypothesis that social policies differ as a consequence of elite values and attitudes.

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