Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Taubman Center

Eric M. Patashnik ─ Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence-Based Medicine

Thursday, November 9, 2017

4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

Book signing with the author and reception to follow

The U.S. medical system is touted as the most advanced in the world, yet many common treatments are not based on sound science. Treatments can go into widespread use before they are rigorously evaluated, and every year patients are harmed because they receive too many procedures—and too few treatments that really work. Unhealthy Politics sheds new light on why the government’s response to this troubling situation has been so inadequate, and why efforts to improve the evidence base of U.S. medicine continue to cause so much political controversy and public trepidation.

This critically important book draws on public opinion surveys, physician surveys, case studies, and political science models to explain how political incentives, polarization, and the misuse of professional authority have undermined efforts to tackle the medical evidence problem and curb wasteful spending. It paints a portrait of a medical industry with vast influence over which procedures and treatments get adopted, and a public burdened by the rising costs of health care yet fearful of going against “doctor’s orders.” The book shows how the government’s efforts to promote evidence-based medicine have become mired in partisan debates. It also proposes sensible solutions that can lead to better, more efficient health care for all of us.

Unhealthy Politics offers vital insights not only into health policy but also into the limits of science, expertise, and professionalism as political foundations for pragmatic problem-solving in American democracy.

Authors of the book are Eric M. Patashnik (Brown University), Alan S. Gerber (Yale University) and Conor M. Dowling (University of Mississippi)

Commentators on the panel will include:

Daniel Carpenter, Freed Professor of Government, Harvard University

Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government, Harvard University

Eric M. Patashnik, author, Director of Public Policy Program and Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

Mark A. Peterson, Professor of Public Policy, Political Science, and Law, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Moderated by, Susan Moffitt, Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy