Suzanne Mettler Ph.D.

Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions
Department of Government
Cornell University
Email: Discipline: Political Science, Health/Social/Public Policy

Investigator Award
The Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Americans' Support for Health Care Reform and Policy Sustainability
Award Year: 2011 The sustainability of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) will depend not only on its economic, legal, and administrative feasibility or the stance of political elites but also on how the new law itself, as implementation unfolds, gradually influences citizens' attitudes about health care reform and affects their support for future changes. Over the next several years, Americans lived experiences of the law and their observations of its impact on their families and communities may alter their attitudes about it, fostering greater support or opposition, and it may generate new constituencies that will mobilize on its behalf, or inadvertently, it may activate opponents. This project will examine how the ACA affects citizens' attitudes about health care policy and their participation in the policy process before, during, and after the law's major provisions are scheduled to go into effect. The analysis will consider how changes in political behavior are affected by the impact of the law's provisions on particular groups of Americans, depending on age, income, and other factors, and also by the extent to which its effects are perceived, depending on the visibility of its components. If the law makes the public more supportive of expansions or of repeal, such effects will influence its sustainability and the contours of the next round of health care reform in the United States. The project feature a longitudinal study and in-depth, qualitative interviews with a smaller number of individuals.


Suzanne Mettler is the Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions in the Government Department at Cornell University. She studies American political development, public policy, and political behavior, focusing particularly on citizenship, inequality, social welfare policy, student aid policy, and health care policy. Her most recent book is The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy (University of Chicago Press). Her earlier books include Dividing Citizens: Gender And Federalism In New Deal Public Policy (Cornell University Press), which was awarded the Kammerer Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book on U.S. national policy, and Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation (Oxford University Press, 2007), which won the Kammerer Award as well as the Greenstone Prize of the Politics and History section of the American Political Science Association. She is also co-editor, with Joe Soss and Jacob Hacker, of Remaking America: Democracy and Public Policy in an Age of Inequality (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010), and co-editor with Lawrence R. Jacobs of a special issue of the Journal of Health Policy, Politics, and Law on "Public Opinion, Health Policy, and American Politics". She has published articles in several journals, including American Political Science Review, British Journal of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, and Studies in American Political Development, and numerous book chapters in edited volumes. She is currently a Fellow of the Century Foundation. Previously, she served as president of the Politics and History Section of the American Political Science Association and on the American Political Science Association's Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy. Her research has been funded by the National Academy of Education, the Russell Sage Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.