By Harold Pollack

It’s a pleasure to guest again. I am a public health researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, where I am faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies.

The Obama team has been rightly tight-lipped about the internal mechanics of its campaign victory. I hope the big shorts forgive me one war story. I say “war story,” advisedly; imagine Studs Terkel covering the Normandy invasion by interviewing the guy in the back room distributing candy bars and post-it notes. I like this story because it involves me, but also because it provides one window into how healthcare became central to the campaign.

I performed odd jobs in the spring, summer, and fall. Professor Paula Lantz and I co-chaired a volunteer advisory public health group that assisted the Obama campaign. April 15, we got a hush-hush email asking to help with something. I figured they wanted a 45-minute sit-down with the Candidate so I could broker a compromise with the Clinton folks on the individual mandate. Maybe he wanted my early take on possibilities for the pending VP pick. Not quite....

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