Health Care Debate

by Prof. Hangen - April 15th, 2017

Mon 4/17 – No Class

Wed 4/19 – “What Just Happened?” – a check-in on the current state of the health care policy reform debate

Mon 4/24 – Class work session to prepare your policy position paper, bring your own laptop

Step 1: Take This Survey (10-15 min)
Step 2: Initial Research on a Position (15 min)
Use the new Resource page, above

Step 3: Claim / Identify your Position at 1:00

Step 4: Research, Find Sources, Anticipate Opposing Perspectives, Start Drafting Paper (30 min)
Step 5: Course Evals 1:30

Wed 4/26 – Mini health care debate. Policy position paper due in class.

Download Guidelines Here

Mon 5/1 – Course wrap-up & Exam Prep

Final exam is 5/8 – TAKE HOME exam will be posted at 6:00 am, must complete by midnight

April 10 & 12 – ObamaCare, 2010 to 20–?

by Prof. Hangen - April 5th, 2017

Mon 4/10 Obamacare 2010-20xx? Reading:Summary of the Affordable Care Act (Kaiser Family Foundation), also posted as a PDF on Blackboard, and Obama’s Speech to Congress, Sept 2009 (recommended viewing it as given @ 47 minutes, or read transcript). Please BRING LAPTOPS, we will be looking at some additional online resources in class. Response #3 is due in the Blackboard Response Journal before class, see the prompt on Blackboard.

In Class: Google Doc

Additional resources:

What is the ACA and How Does it Work?

Cliff Notes Version of the Affordable Care Act (, July 2012)
Summary of Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (

Supreme Court ruling – National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sibelius (June 2012)

NPR Live-Blogged Coverage
NPR Health “Scope” Blog Coverage
A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Decision on the ACA Medicaid’s Expansion (KFF)

Kaiser Family Foundation “YouToon” Explanation Videos

2010: “Health Care Reform Hits Main Street”

2013: The YouToons Get Ready for ObamaCare

2014: Health Insurance Explained, the YouToons Have it Covered

Wed 4/12 Costs and ComparisonsDisease Paper is due at classtime.

Obviously, this topic is getting a tsunami of media coverage, so this is only a tiny fraction of the possible resources. But as a starting point… follow AT LEAST ONE link from each section below to prepare for our discussion.

New York Times – Topic / Health Care Reform
Kaiser Family Foundation – Health Care Reform
Pew Research – Topics: Health Care
Wikipedia (PROCEED WITH CAUTION): ACA / AHCA / Healthcare Reform in the US

Comparative Perspectives
How Health Care Works Around the World (CNN, 17 Mar 2017)
US Health Care from a Global Perspective (CommonwealthFund, 2015)
US Health Care v. The World (George Washington University School of Public Health, 8 Feb 2017)

Those Indecipherable Medical Bills (New York Times, March 29, 2017)
$10,345 Per Person: US Health Care Spending Reaches New Peak (PBS, July 2016 – and here’s the Health Affairs report they’re referring to)
Topic: Health Costs (Kaiser Family Foundation)
The US Spends More on Health Care Than Any Other Country. Here’s What We’re Buying (Washington Post, 27 Dec 2016)
US Health Care Expenditures using 2015 Data (CDC FastStats, January 2017)
“More Is Less” Podcast / Transcript (This American Life, 9 Oct 2009)

Comparing ACA (“ObamaCare”) to AHCA (2017 Republican Health Care Plan)
Compare Proposals to Replace the Affordable Care Act (Kaiser Family Foundation)
Where Both the ACA and ACHA Fall Short (Harvard Business Review, 21 Mar 2017)
A Side-By-Side Comparison of Obamacare and the GOP’s Replacement Plan (LA Times, 8/21 Mar 2017)
Wikipedia (PROCEED WITH CAUTION): 2017 Replacement Proposals / Pre-2017 Replacement Proposals & Efforts to Repeal

Political Perspectives
Republican Health Care Vote: Everything You Need to Know (NBCNews, 23 Mar 2017)
Why Republicans Hate ObamaCare (The Economist, Dec 2016)
The Case Against ObamaCare (, 2011)
2016 Republican Party Platform / 2012 Republican Party Platform
2016 Democratic Party Platform
Who/What is the House Freedom Caucus? (, 20 October 2015)
American College of Physicians (Opposed to AHCA)

Unit 3: US Health Care System Policy in Contemporary America – Unit Overview

by Prof. Hangen - March 29th, 2017

Wed 3/29: we finish up the Pox book by looking at chapters 6-8.

Starting the week of April 3, we will examine the past and present of US health care policy … obviously a very timely topic. I’d advise paying more attention to the news about health care policy negotiations than you might ordinarily during the next couple of weeks, as this story is unfolding dynamically day to day.

Mon 4/3 Health Care Policy Pre-2008 Reading – Burnham chapters 8-14 by assignment, see below. Everyone reads: Chapin, “The Historical Origins of Today’s Healthcare Debates” (online) and Stevens, “History and Health Care Policy in the US” (PDF on Blackboard).

Read your assigned chapter for two things: 1) Glossary Terms! Add them to the Class Wiki, or improve someone else’s term if it’s already added; 2) skim through looking for any EVENTS or DEVELOPMENTS in national health care policy. Bring your notes on those to Monday’s class.

Chapter 8 – Ametei, Anisko, Bechard, Becker, Bouvier
Chapter 9 – Braun, Cahill, Cormier, Costa, Dempsey
Chapter 10 – DeSantis, Downing, Goldsmith, Hickman, Hummel
Chapter 11 – Jacques, Johnson, Joncas, Kupstas, Litchfield
Chapter 12 – Mendala, Mias, Miller-Vickers, Nader
Chapter 13 – Oevermann, Ouilette, Pawlowski, Rearick, Seed
Chapter 14 – Sheehan, Sinclair, Sneigocki

Links for Today:
Operation Coffeecup 1961
“Harry and Louise” Anti-Clinton Health Care Reform Ads, 1993
Hillary Clinton testifying in Congress on behalf of Health Care Reform

Today’s Slides:

290.19 HCPolicyPre08.3Apr17

Wed 4/5 Film Day – we will screen portions of the 2007 Michael Moore film Sicko in class. Reading: PDF New York Times Obamacare Overview (November 2010) – posted on Blackboard under “Readings.”

Mon 4/10 Obamacare 2010-20xx? Reading:Summary of the Affordable Care Act (Kaiser Family Foundation), also posted as a PDF on Blackboard, and Obama’s Speech to Congress, Sept 2009 (recommended viewing it as given @ 47 minutes, or read transcript). Please BRING LAPTOPS, we will be looking at some additional online resources in class. Response #3 is due in the Blackboard Response Journal before class.

Wed 4/12 Costs and Comparisons – readings / online links will be posted to the course website. Disease Paper is due at classtime.

Mon 4/17 No Class; Patriots Day

Wed 4/19 What Just Happened? – readings / online links will be posted to the course website

Mon 4/24 Research DayBRING LAPTOPS, we will use classtime to research for your Position Paper assignment.

Wed 4/26 Health Care Policy Debate – come with your position paper in hand, ready to debate these issues!

Mon 5/1 Course Wrap-Up & Exam Prep. Make sure your Class Glossary entries are complete by this date.

Final Exam: Mon 5/8 at 12:30 pm

No Class 3/15 – Disease Project Revised Due Dates

by Prof. Hangen - March 15th, 2017

With the University closed a second day for snow, we will not meet today (Wed 315) for class. Therefore the Disease Project poster conference will take place on Monday, Mar 27 when we return from spring break, and the Disease Project paper will be due on April 12. The syllabus has been revised to reflect the deadline adjustments and also the highly dynamic situation with health care reform, the topic of our final unit. Have an enjoyable snow day and break week!

Smallpox in America, Vaccine Heroes/Villians (3/13)

by Prof. Hangen - March 13th, 2017

Brandeis history professor Michael Willrich‘s book about smallpox traces the complex interactions between medicine, public health, government and politics in the Progressive Era. We will read this book over several weeks, from March 6 to March 27. Please bring the book to class on the days we’re discussing the assigned chapters.

Keep in mind that the Conference Day for your Disease Project is Wed 3/15 – if we have a cancellation due to snow, we will hold the conference on Monday 3/27 instead and also adjust the paper deadline accordingly. Your poster is due in class and you should be prepared to make a short presentation to your peers about your project on that day. Project guidelines, if you need them, are posted on Blackboard and in the left sidebar on this page.

Mon, March 13: Read Pox, Chapter 4 “War is Health” and 5 “The Stable and the Laboratory”

Some discussion questions to guide your reading and thinking:

  • At the beginning of the 20th century, how was military and American imperial expansion related to the origins, development and transformation of the “sanitary campaigns” in places that the US military had occupied?
  • What were some of the legacies or achievements of those campaigns; at what cost were they achieved?
  • Of what causes did the majority of soldiers die during the War of 1898?
  • (see p. 171) In the fall of 1901, vaccination regulation was controversial. A few months later it was federal law. What happened?
  • Describe the process of vaccine manufacture in the early 1900s under the direction of the state boards of health. (How does it compare with today, by the way?)
  • What were some of the problems with this process, and what were the effects of tainted vaccine?
  • Why is the Biologics Control Act important?