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Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care$
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Jane Banaszak-Holl, Sandra Levitsky, and Mayer Zald

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388299.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 May 2021

The Challenge of Universal Health Care

The Challenge of Universal Health Care

Social Movements, Presidential Leadership, and Private Power

(p.39) 3 The Challenge of Universal Health Care
Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care

Beatrix Hoffman

Oxford University Press

Hoffman examines the question of why the United States does not yet have universal health coverage for its citizens. Where past explanations have focused on the role of private interest groups, the structure of government and previous policy decisions, and/or U.S. public opinion and political culture, Hoffman examines the lack of a major social movement in support of universal health care as an explanatory factor. Tracing the historical relationship between social movements (or the lack thereof) and major attempts to reform health care in the United States, Hoffman argues that an important reason for the failure of health reform throughout the twentieth century is that health reformers have relied primarily on elite expertise rather than popular support in their campaigns. Hoffman concludes that while presidential leadership will be a prerequisite for any major health care reform, leaders also need the support and inspiration from strong popular movements if they are to succeed in transforming the health care system.

Keywords:   social movements, collective action, health care, health insurance, interest groups, policy reform, mobilization

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