US Health Care Reform: Formulation Stages

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Formulation Stage Senator Ted Kennedy struggled to reform U.S. health care going back as far as 1971 (Furrow, 2011p. 476), through the brain tumor that ended his life in 2009. Furrow traced Kennedy's contributions through U.S. health care reform to the first year of the Obama administration, even though Obama "did not push universal health care particularly forcefully" on the campaign trail until Kennedy endorsed him (Furrow, 2011, p. 474). Kennedy, according to Furrow (2011), was "at least a strong tailwind, combining with grass roots pressures to push Obama in the direction of tackling major health care reform" (p. 475). The picture emerges of a senior politician pursuing a lifelong objective, teaming up with interested parties to leverage progressive innovation at a critical opportunity that had eluded generations of policymakers. Ironic today, Furrow (2011) attributed the Massachusetts reform as providing the "test case" (p. 473) and "prototype" (p. 474) for federal health insurance policy that originally appeared as the Affordable Health Choices Act, provisions of which became the core of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) later in 2009. Furman's model case study reveals the persistence and collaboration it takes to move a law of the scope of ACA through Congress, even given the political weight and power of a Ted Kennedy. It took the combined effort of the labor movement, the nonprofit sector, and sympathetic legislators through Kennedy's career

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