Physicians and medical professionals have no choice but to confront politics in their careers: their industry is highly regulated, the government pays them for the care they provide to millions of Americans, and many of the most controversial domestic policy issues in the United States—reproductive health, sexual health, gun violence, drug abuse, and more—are closely connected to medical treatment. Few may enter the field of medicine finding politics to be an important part of their professional lives, but politics pushes its way in.

My own interest in the relationship between medical care and politics came out of a partnership with psychiatrist Matthew Goldenberg of Yale School of Medicine (Hersh and Goldenberg 2016). The increasing availability of granular public data in the field of medicine, made possible both by improvements in computer power and by the government's increasing involvement in medicine, grants researchers new opportunities to study health care and...

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