Medicare and Medicaid at 50: America's Entitlement Programs in the Age of Affordable Care

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Alan B. Cohen, David C. Colby, Keith A. Wailoo, Julian E. Zelizer
Oxford University Press, Jun 1, 2015 - Medical - 256 pages
For fifty years, Medicare and Medicaid have stood at the center of a contentious debate surrounding American government, citizenship, and health care entitlement. In Medicare and Medicaid at 50, leading scholars in politics, government, economics, health policy, and history offer a comprehensive assessment of the evolution of these programs and their impact on society -- from their origins in the Great Society era to the current battles over the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). These highly accessible essays examine Medicare and Medicaid from their origins as programs for the elderly and poor to their later role as a safety net for the middle class. Along the way, they have served as touchstones for heated debates about economics, social welfare, and the role of government. Medicare and Medicaid at 50 addresses key questions for understanding the past and future of health policy in America, including: · What were the origins for these initiatives, and how were they transformed over time? · What marks have Medicare and Medicaid left on society? · In what ways have these programs produced innovation, even in eras of retrenchment? · How did Medicaid, once regarded as a poor person's program, expand its benefits and coverage over the decades to become the platform for the ACA's future expansion? The volume's contributors go on to examine the powerful role of courts in these transformations, along with the shifting roles of Congress, public opinion, and state governors in the programs' ongoing evolution. From Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama on the left, and from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush on the right, American political leaders have tied their political fortunes to the fate of America's entitlement programs; Medicare and Medicaid at 50 helps explain why, and how those ongoing debates are likely to shape the future of the Affordable Care Act.

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Did you realize Medicare and Medicaid turn 50 this summer? I sure didn’t, until I ran across Medicare and Medicaid at 50: America’s Entitlement Programs in the Age of Affordable Care.. The story of ... Read full review


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About the author (2015)

Alan B. Cohen is a Professor of Health Policy and Management at Boston University School of Management, where he directs the national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research and Scholars in Health Policy Research Programs. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the principal author of Technology in American Health Care: Policy Directions for Effective Evaluation and Management (University of Michigan, 2004). David C. Colby is Vice President of Policy at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is a noted health services research and policy expert. His published research has focused on Medicaid and Medicare, media coverage of AIDS, political science, and civil rights. He has worked in government on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, on the Physician Payment Review Commission, and at the Congressional Budget Office, and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Keith A. Wailoo is the Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs and Vice Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. His recent books include: Pain: A Political History (Johns Hopkins, 2014); How Cancer Crossed the Color Line (Oxford University, 2011); and The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine: Ethnicity and Innovation in Tay-Sachs, Cystic Fibrosis, and Sickle Cell Disease (Johns Hopkins, 2006). He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2007. Julian E. Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a Fellow at New America. He publishes a popular weekly column for His most recent book is The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society (Penguin Press, 2015).

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