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Penn Law Professor Allison Hoffman brings expertise to national health care debate

August 15, 2019

The national conversation on the future of health care in the United States has reached a fever pitch with the rise of the “Medicare for All” movement, Democratic presidential candidates offering competing policies, and the Texas v. Azar lawsuit threatening the Affordable Care Act. In the midst of the ongoing debate, the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s resident health care law and policy expert, Professor Allison Hoffman, has brought clarity to the issues at stake both through her research and by providing expert commentary within the public conversation.

“Health law and policy has become a real litmus test of our time, as we make progress but still have many Americans who struggle to afford health care they need,” said Hoffman. “Battles over health policy and law — in the courts, Congress, and political elections —at their core are about setting boundaries of shared moral and political responsibility for each other.”

Hoffman recently authored a new article, Health Care’s Market Bureaucracy, which closely examines the economic theories underlying market-based health care policies, the evidence showing how such policies have failed in practice, and the regulatory infrastructure that has developed to try to prop up the industry. The article, which has been lauded as “one of the best recent works of health law scholarship,” is forthcoming in Vol. 66 of the UCLA Law Review.

Hoffman explored similar issues in her latest op-ed, featured in The Hill, where she wrote about the role of choice in health care and highlighted how people often unwittingly choose inferior health care plans. Her analysis challenges the illusion that more choices mean better options for consumers trying to navigate a complicated system.  

Earlier this summer, Hoffman was quoted four times regarding Texas v. Azar, a lawsuit that could impact the future of the Affordable Care Act. Read her comments here:

  1. Vox: The latest legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, explained
  2. Sinclair Broadcast Group: Fifth Circuit hearing on ruling striking down Obamacare unlikely to be end of battle
  3. Vox: What could be next for the Affordable Care Act lawsuit
  4. The Christian Science Monitor: Another day, another legal battle? Why latest ‘Obamacare’ suit matters.

In the wake of the first Democratic presidential primary debate, Hoffman commented on some of the leading candidate’s proposed policies:

  1. The Washington Post: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris muddle through confusing health policy in debate
  2. Politifact: ‘If you like your plan, you can keep It.’ Biden’s health pitch invokes Obama’s troubled claim
  3. Vox: Kamala Harris’s Medicare-for-all plan, explained
  4. Salon: Medicare for All. Single-payer. Expanding Obamacare. What’s the difference?

More recently, she has discussed the “Medicare for All” movement and how it’s fueling 2020 presidential campaign strategies. In the Law and Political Economy blog, she guest authored a post examining how “Medicare for All (MFA) has become the symbol of a larger, brewing movement that is attempting to bring major change to how we pay for and regulate health care in the United States.” Then, in an article featured in Salon, Hoffman explained what doctor visits would look like under MFA from the patient’s perspective.

Hoffman is an expert on health care law and policy. Her research aims to bring greater descriptive and analytical clarity to the purposes of health regulation and to deepen our understanding of how health insurance design and regulation both reflects and shapes social consciousness around risk.