Beyond Obamacare


1. Paul Starr, Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011), 195.

2. “Board of Directors’ Statement: Now Is the Time for Health Care Reform: A Proposal to Achieve Universal Coverage, Affordability, Quality Improvement and Market Reform.,” (America’s Health Insurance Plans, 2008).

3. Drew Armstrong, “Insurers Gave U.S. Chamber $86 Million Used to Oppose Obama’s Health Law,” Bloomberg.

4. Dean Baker, “Reducing Waste with an Efficient Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit” (Center for Economic and Policy Researcb, 2013).

5. Peter Baker, “Obama Was Pushed by Drug Industry, E-Mails Suggest,” New York Times, June 9, 2012.

6. Beatrix Rebecca Hoffman, Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States since 1930 (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

7. On the Bayh-Dole Act, see H. Markel, “Patents, Profits, and the American People—the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980,” New England Journal of Medicine 369, no. 9 (2013). On moral hazard, a good review can be found in J. A. Nyman, “American Health Policy: Cracks in the Foundation,” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, vol. 32, no. 5 (2007). 

8. “Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage—Baseline Projections,” ed. Congressional Budget Office (2014).

9. The devil is very much in the definition here (i.e. what arbitrary cutoff defines sufficient versus insufficient coverage); using a conservative threshold, a recent study found that 12 percent of the U.S. population was insured but underinsured (in addition to the 18 percent uninsured). C. Schoen et al., “America’s Underinsured: A State-by-State Look at Health Insurance Affordability Prior to the New Coverage Expansions,” (The Commonwealth Fund, 2014).

10. In all fairness, however, we were already becoming a “copay country” even before the ACA. Those of us with employer-provided health insurance have, for instance, seen growing copay and deductibles in recent years. G. Claxton et al., “Health Benefits in 2013: Moderate Premium Increases in Employer-Sponsored Plans,” Health Affairs, vol. 32, no. 9 (2013). I discuss the issue of “copay country” in greater depth in “Your doctor copays are too high!” Salon, August 5, 2013.

11. That being said, state single-payer requires federal waiver to allow for the incorporation of Medicare into the system, and so requires federal cooperation.

12. The phrase is from N. Tomes, "Merchants of Health: Medicine and Consumer Culture in the United States, 1900-1940," Journal of American History, vol. 88, no. 2 (2001).