The project that produced this special issue was born several years ago in conversations between Herbert Pardes, former president and CEO of the New York-Presbyterian health care system, and a number of faculty in the Department of Health Policy and Management of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. We were struck by a kind of bipolarity in the world of health policy analysis. On the one hand, we saw scholars who explored in depth the workings of the US health care system and the role of public policy in shaping it, but who (by and large) did not offer up diagnoses, explanations, and prescriptions that lent themselves to expression in the proverbial twenty-five words or less that policy makers often demand. On...

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