How, when, and where does academic policy analysis about the health care system enter the policymaking process? How have healthcare policymakers seen and used policy analysis in the development, implementation, and perhaps repeal of the Affordable Care Act? As the US moves from a more technocratic to a more populist administration, how is the role of policy analysis likely to shift? We invite papers for a conference at the Wagner School, New York University in spring 2017 to explore the role of policy analysis in the political process, focusing particularly on the Affordable Care Act. The Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law will accept five to seven papers from the conference to run in a special issue after undergoing peer review. Sherry Glied, Dean of the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, is Guest Editor of this Special Issue of JHPPL.
The relationship between scholars in health policy and policymakers has long been contested. Back in 1966, following the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, Odin Anderson, reviewing the relationship between research and policy, reported that he was “pessimistic” and concluded a dispiriting review by asking “what is then the value of social and economic research in the health field?” In the ensuing 50 years, health policy scholars have continued to publish and policymakers have continued to legislate and implement health policy. Funders increasingly demand dissemination plans to ensure that the findings of the research they support are influential in the policy process. A new scholarly field of “knowledge translation” has emerged. Yet many observers remain pessimistic about the influence of evidence on policymaking.
Many aspects of the Affordable Care Act’s development and implementation offered opportunities for scholarship to influence the process – from the initial decision to focus on health reform, to the design of the exchanges and the Medicaid expansion, to the investment in comparative effectiveness research and delivery system improvements, through the most recent repeal-and-replace debates. The Law’s path has wound through Congress, the Federal Executive Branch, the Courts, and through State Legislatures and Governor’s Offices. How, where, and when did policy-related scholarship play a part in these processes? How, where, and when should it have played such a part? The purpose of this research conference is to explore these questions both positively and normatively. While the focus of the conference will be on the Affordable Care Act, we are also open to papers that consider other aspects of health policymaking.
Possible Paper Topics and Target Audience
We seek to cast a broad net and are open to studies by political scientists, economists, sociologists, historians, health services researchers, and others. Papers could examine differences and similarities in how research evidence is used in the various institutions of government (committees, budget agencies, executive branch departments, the judiciary); how evidence plays into lobbying and stakeholder engagement; the uses of evidence in the context of Federal/State relations; the role of the technocracy (expert advisory panels, budget agencies, actuaries, regulatory impact analyses, budget scores); how policymakers address conflicting research findings (for example, in the discussions of job loss); how Congress acts when evidence is sparse (as in the case of the CLASS Act), how partisanship affects the use of evidence; as well as papers that explore more normative issues, such as the relationship between scholarship and accountability.
The target audiences for these papers include academic researchers; funders; and health policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels. Papers should be written so as to be accessible to all of these audiences.
Interested authors should submit a 1-3 page proposal by March 1, 2017 by email to Jennifer Costanza, Managing Editor of JHPPL, at jhppl[at]brown[dot]edu. Please put “Policy Analysis Conference” in the subject line of the message. JHPPL will respond to the proposals by March 15, 2017. Accepted authors will present completed papers at the conference at NYU on May 2, 2017. The papers will then undergo peer review for a special issue of the journal.