With the Supreme Court set to review Obamacare in the coming weeks and Rick Santorum deriding that same legislation as “a threat to the very essence of who America is,” it is obvious that health care will be as much of a talking point in this election as it was in 2008.
In his book, Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle Over Health Care Reform, Paul Starr reminds his readers that, in America, health care has long been a source of debate. As a one-time senior health-care adviser in the Clinton White House, Starr is intimately acquainted with the history of the country’s health-care system, and in Remedy and Reaction, he outlines the long interchange between reform and counter reform behind the present situation.
This history is hardly irrelevant. Indeed, if the Supreme Court upholds the legislation, health care will become a defining feature of the legacy of the President just as he begins his campaign for reelection, leading analysts to compare the case with the rulings on the New Deal that shaped FDR’s reelection campaign more than seventy years ago.
Starr emphasizes what he calls the “peculiar” history of the debate, noting that the United States is the only capitalist democracy in the world to leave such a large portion of its population without health insurance. In fact, Starr writes, the United States is the victim of a “policy trap,” because the increasingly complex and expensive workings of the existing health care system itself work against efforts at reform. Worse, partisan politics mean that agreement on a solution is hard to come by—even when, as the Washington Post pointed out in a recent article—both parties seem to have more in common than anyone wants to admit.
Want to hear more? Listen to Starr talk about FDR, Obama, and Mitt Romney’s history with health-care reform on the Yale Press Podcast.
Ivan Brunetti’s new book Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice is making a pretty big splash with a popular, instructional trailer on YouTube and reviews on Drawn!, PopMatters.com, even the Wall Street Journal. He’s written for the London Yale Books blog, and he has an upcoming book signing with Hillary Cute at Hyde Park’s 57th Street Books on Wednesday, May 18th. But these are only the most recent things he’s done withYUP.
The two volumes of the Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories are engrossing for any fan of narrative fiction, featuring work of contemporary artists like Art Spiegelman, Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch, Chris Ware, Ben Katchor, Gary Panter, Phoebe Gloeckner, Daniel Clowes, Joe Sacco, and Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez.
Plus, Brunetti interviewed twice for the Yale Press Podcast series, and its logo should look rather familiar. Listen to him on episodes 1 and 19 right at home, on the go, and tell us what you think.