John McDonough

John E. McDonough is the director of Health Care for All and the author of Experiencing Politics: A Legislator's Stories of Politics and Health Care.

Recent Articles

An Editor's Diagnosis

Severed Trust: Why American Medicine Hasn't Been Fixed, by Dr. George D. Lundberg, M.D., with James Stacey. Basic Books, 371 pages, $26.00. "Remember, the job of a medical journal editor is to shed light, ... to be the conscience of the profession." Dr. George Lundberg got this kind of advice from fellow medical editors and medical school deans when he assumed the editorship of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1982. "In other words," he concluded, adding his own spin, "an editor who is doing his or her job correctly is getting into trouble all the time." Aware that all but one of his predecessors had been fired or otherwise pressured to leave, he nevertheless used his powerful perch for 17 years to publish rigorous, peer-reviewed studies exploring the breadth and depth of America's health care system--looking at costs, quality, and access, as well as more unusual subjects, such as boxing, Joe Camel, and ancient Chinese healing practices. Lundberg was brought...

States First: The Other Path to National Health Reform

As a state legislator in Massachusetts since 1985, I have seen the best and worst of state health policy-making. In 1988 the Massachusetts Legislature approved a measure intended to guarantee health insurance to all 600,000 uninsured state residents. The early steps under the law, covering students, the unemployed, and disabled adults and children, were preludes to a requirement, effective in 1992, that all employers provide insurance or pay for coverage by the state. Although flawed, the plan represented a striking effort by one state to push ahead of the federal government in the achievement of universal health insurance. By 1991 a recession, a state budget crisis, and the political implosion of Governor Michael S. Dukakis led to a headlong retreat. To forestall repeal efforts by Governor William Weld, Dukakis's Republican successor, Democrats agreed to a delay of the employer mandate to 1995. Even more disturbing, a Democratic legislature that three years earlier had committed...