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Course Information

Instructor Info:Robert Rakoff
Office Extension x5396
TA Info:Deirdre Shea
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 105
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 105

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 heath 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.

Evaluation Criteria:

Requirements for Evaluation:


1. Do the reading, attend class, and participate in discussion.

2. Write three short papers on issues and questions raised by our readings and discussions. Rewrite if needed. See due dates below.

3. Complete an original research project on some aspect of the Affordable Care Act. Details to come.

4. For CEL-1 credit: we will be organizing a campus forum/teach-in on Obamacare toward the end of the semester. Class participants will organize and speak at this event. Details to follow.