Health reform has been one of the most prominent and contentious issues in US politics during the last decade, with all six of the election cycles between 2008 and 2018 intensely focused on whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be enacted, extended, altered, or repealed. The legislative and judicial fights over the ACA are just the latest battles in a struggle over health policy going back at least fifty years.

In Beyond Obamacare: Life, Death, and Social Policy, James S. House argues that policy makers have been tackling the wrong questions. Our energy has been disproportionately spent trying to expand insurance coverage rather than solve the deeper systemic issues that serve as a fundamental barrier to maximal health for all populations. His core argument is that “we must get beyond the view of Obamacare as all that we can or...

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