The conceptual embrace of chronic illness has become so broad and varied that the utility in using this concept to inform policy may be compromised. However, all chronic conditions have common threads. Chronic conditions intrude upon the quality of life and life patterns of individuals. They not only alter the life of the persons closest to the afflicted individuals but many with whom these individuals come in contact on a daily basis, for example, employers, fellow employees, neighbors, and even strangers. Chronic illness sufferers need extra, even in some instances extraordinary, resources to ameliorate the effects of their illnesses, and this in turn generates costs to society either in the form of risk-sharing schemes such as insurance (public or private) or through welfare/charitable support.
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