CSI-0114: Politics of Health Insurance

The U.S. is alone among the wealthy capitalist nations in not providing health insurance to all its citizens. In this course we will examine the reasons for this dubious distinction, focusing on Americans' historic distrust of government, the power of important stakeholders in medicine and insurance, the dominance of individualism in American political life and thought, and the bias toward incremental change that is built into our political institutions. We will examine the history of major health insurance programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Veterans Affairs, the increasing problems with employment-based insurance, and the conservative push for programs based on personal responsibility. We will pay special attention to the politics and implementation of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and will examine possible alternatives - everything from individual vouchers to a single payer system.