My conversation with Paul Starr about the current and future state of health reform

Some Americans feel that the 2016 presidential campaign got too bogged down in boring policy-wonk detail. If you are feeling this way, I apologize for piling on yet more policy substance into a dutifully stodgy campaign that you once hoped could be more like an over-the-top reality show with a comically low-rent villain.

Other readers might enjoy our conversation. As you probably know, Starr wrote The Social Transformation of American Medicine, perhaps the most widely-cited book ever written on the history of American health policy and healthcare. (Fun-fact: Starr wrote that book in the same Yale office where I finished my own dissertation – not one of the most widely cited works in any genre.) Starr is also author of Remedy and Reaction, my favorite book-length account of health reform.

We discussed how ACA is going: The progress and challenges of the new exchanges, the possibilities for a public option, the class biases of American politics which lead us to downplay the assistance to poor people ACA has provided. If you are one of these readers, please click on and share this piece. My HIO editors indulge me in my curbside consults with policy experts. I can’t imagine these are their most lucrative pieces, and it’s important to nudge the attention economy in the direction of policy substance regarding important matters.

More here. OK. Here is a fun graphic.


Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.