Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-founder and co-editor of the The American Prospect. and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history, he is the author of seven books, including most recently Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Heath Care Reform (Yale University Press, revised ed. 2013). Click here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

Hillary's Own Plan

Senator Clinton's health proposal signals a new phase in the long struggle for universal health insurance. Here's how her new plan compares to the 1993 Clinton Health Security Plan.

Hillary Clinton's "American Health Choices Plan," released September 17, opens a new chapter in the struggle for health care reform, though you would never know it from the predictable reactions on both sides of the political spectrum. From the Republicans came the usual cries of "socialized medicine," even though the proposal builds on the existing system and calls for three features that have long been part of some conservative proposals: a mandate for individuals to carry insurance coverage, choice among competing health plans, and the use of tax credits to help make coverage affordable. From the left came the usual charges that anything less than a single-payer plan is a boondoggle for the insurance industry, even though Senator Clinton proposes a new Medicare-like public plan to be offered as an option to employers and individuals and new national rules for insurers that would dramatically change how they operate. The novelty of Senator Clinton's plan is not in its broad...

Iraq Trap 2

Democrats should not promise an impossible victory, only an honorable end to the Iraq War as expediently as possible.

"Americans only want tragedies with happy endings," the novelist and critic William Dean Howells once said, and that strain in our culture seems to be at work once again in the debate about Iraq. Many of the war's original supporters now concede it was a tragic mistake, but they're still holding out for it to end happily. Like the president, they grasp at a few positive statistics or favorable developments in one province, struggling to sustain the hope that bad decisions can be made right if only our troops stay in Iraq until we turn things around. And so they lend their assistance in the laying of a trap. Iraq Trap 1 was the war itself -- America stuck in the sands of Mesopotamia, lured there by false claims about weapons of mass destruction and promises of a conflict that would be quick and easy. Iraq Trap 2 is a political trap -- a way that the Republicans may have found to win the war at home by setting up the next president to take the blame when that president is likely to be a...

The Hillarycare Mythology

Did Hillary doom health reform in 1993? Here's the real story, from the Prospect co-editor who was a White House senior health policy advisor at the time.

(AP Photo/Joe Marquette, File)
(AP Photo/Joe Marquette, File) Then first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, holding a copy of the Clinton health-care plan, kicks off a three-state sales campaign during a visit to the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in this Oct. 28, 1993 file photo. When it comes to health care reform, Clinton lives by the old adage, "burned once, twice shy." As first lady in the early 1990s, she tried to reshape the nation's health care system—an audacious effort that collapsed under its own complexity, Republican opposition, and the Clinton's unwillingness to seek compromise with lawmakers. Note: This article was originally published in The American Prospect in October 2007 . Five days after his inauguration in 1993, Bill Clinton named his wife to chair a newly established President's Task Force on National Health Care Reform. From that moment, the public had the impression that Hillary Clinton and the task force under her direction were responsible for coming up with the administration's reform...

BLOOMBERG AS DEM...

BLOOMBERG AS DEM VP CANDIDATE? When Michael Bloomberg announced he was leaving the Republican Party, my initial reaction was that it was a disaster for the Democrats. If he ran as an independent candidate for president, Bloomberg would almost certainly cut into the votes of self-identified independents that Democrats picked up in 2006 and that they will need again if they are to win the presidency in 2008. But now that Bloomberg has said he's not running for president, another possibility emerges. He would be an ideal candidate for vice president on a ticket with any of the major Democratic possibilities except, of course, Hillary Clinton . Bloomberg's attractions -- his business reputation, executive experience, centrist image, and not least of all deep pockets -- are obvious. Moreover, this would be the rational step for Bloomberg to take. The record of third-party candidates for president is dismal; running an independent campaign, Bloomberg would almost certainly only play the...

Why Immigration Reform Matters

From our July/August print issue: If there is a deal to be had on immigration in this Congress, liberals and progressives should be part of it.

When immigration legislation stalled and possibly died on the Senate floor on June 7, some progressives were just as pleased as Lou Dobbs. But passing even an imperfect compromise of the kind the Senate had been debating would be far better than doing nothing. Among all the conflicting concerns about the issue, there is one that ought to drive change: The presence of 12 million people without legal or political rights in our society is fundamentally inconsistent with the principles on which a liberal democracy rests. While a small number of illegal residents or temporary workers may raise ethical questions, a large population with no rights or security undermines the rule of law, the rights of citizens, and the working of democracy. The law cannot offer equal protection to all when there are millions of people for whom it offers no protection whatsoever. For example, if employers can hire illegal immigrants who fear the authorities and therefore cannot call on them to enforce minimum-...

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