Federalism and Strategies for Reform in American Health Policy

Award Year:
Margaret Weir
Interest Groups, Politics and Policymaking
American health policy is a quintessential example of "marble cake" federalism: a complex mix of responsibilities shared between states and the federal government. Margaret M. Weir, Ph.D. probes the interplay between state and federal political arenas in her Investigator Award project, Federalism and Strategies for Reform in American Health Policy. Her study focuses on the interest groups and organizations that disseminate ideas, shape agendas and policy alliances, and operate in health care reform debates. She analyzes the roles played by organized medicine, the hospital industry, AARP, governors, state legislators, the AFL-CIO, foundations, and others in the aftermath of the failed reform efforts of the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s. Dr. Weir's project will shed light on how policy capacities are built in the states, how the federal government can best promote state initiatives to improve access to quality health care, and how state activity can influence federal efforts. Her work should provide policymakers with a better understanding of how state and federal action may best be combined to improve access to health care.