Member Spotlight: Robert I. Field With the Affordable Care Act making headlines, the government’s role in the American health care system has been a hot topic, and it has become increasingly important to understand the kind of role the government has played in the past. Member Robert I. Field’s new book Mother of Invention: How the Government Created “Free-Market” Health Care takes on this topic and shows the integral part the government has played in health care for over half a century.
“The law is not an unprecedented government intrusion into health care, as some have contended but rather the next step in the evolution of a long-standing public-private partnership,” states Field, a professor of law at the Earle Mack School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health at Drexel University.
To illustrate how important government involvement has been, Field provides an historical overview of four key areas of heath care: pharmaceuticals, hospitals, the medical profession, and private insurance.
“Imagine pharmaceuticals without NIH support for basic biomedical research that underlies most drug development, hospitals without Medicare and Medicaid to fund half their care, the medical profession without Medicare to support physician training and specialist incomes, or the private insurance industry without the tax subsidy for employer-provided coverage,” says Field. “The book reveals how the government has been a silent partner behind each of these thriving components of our private health care system.”
Professor Field has written extensively on the American health care system, and Mother of Invention is his second book. His first, Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation and Compromise, was published by Oxford University Press in 2006, and he has authored articles in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Villanova Law Review, the Drexel Law Review, Health Affairs, Vaccine, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He also writes and edits a blog for the Philadelphia Inquirer on health policy called the Field Clinic. Additionally, his expertise has landed him on CNN, NPR, and ABC, and he has been quoted by numerous other news outlets including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.
A valued and long-standing member of the Society, Field states “ASLME is an extremely welcoming and supportive organization that encourages new scholars and sustains senior ones. I am grateful for the sense of community it provides and the friendships it has enabled me to build, which have helped to guide my work over the past 20 years.”
Before joining Drexel, Professor Field taught at University of Sciences in Philadelphia, where he founded and chaired the Department of Health Policy and Public Health and served as a professor of health policy. He also led business planning and development for the primary care network of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, served on the research staff of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Center for Law and Health Sciences at Boston University, practiced health law with the Philadelphia law firm of Ballard Spahr, LLP, and directed public policy research at Cigna Corporation.
Field received his Ph.D. in psychology from Boston University, and he holds an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health. He received earned a J.D. from Columbia Law School, and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College.
With the Affordable Care Act making headlines, the government’s role in the American health care system has been a hot topic, and it has become increasingly important to understand the kind of role the government has played in the past. Member Robert I. Field’s new book Mother of Invention: How the Government Created “Free-Market” Health Care takes on this topic and shows the integral part the government has played in health care for over half a century.