Jonathan Oberlander is professor and chair of Social Medicine and professor of Health Policy & Management at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He also holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Political Science. His research and teaching interests include health care politics and policy, health care reform, Medicare, and American politics and public policy.
Dr. Oberlander is author of The Political Life of Medicare (University of Chicago Press) and co-editor of the 3-volume series The Social Medicine Reader, 2nd ed., (Duke University Press). His recent work explores ongoing political fights over and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, health care cost control, Medicare reform, and the fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Independent Payment Advisory Board.
In the School of Medicine, Dr. Oberlander teaches health care policy to medical students. In the Department of Health Policy & Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, he teaches courses on health care reform to Master’s, Ph.D., and DrPH students.
Oberlander speaks regularly to community groups, medical professionals, and non-academic audiences on health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, and Medicare, trying to translate the complexity and technical detail of health policy into something more understandable and accessible. He has commented on health care politics for a number of media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the New York Review of Books, National Public Radio, the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Company, Politico, CBS News, and PBS.
Oberlander holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from Yale University, and a B.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Industry Expertise (3)
Health and Wellness
Areas of Expertise (8)
Health Care Policy
Health Care Politics
Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize (professional)
The award, which includes a $5,000 stipend, was established in 1986 by the late Phillip Hettleman — a New York investment banker and member of the class of 1921 — to recognize the achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track faculty or recently tenured faculty.
Teaching Excellence Awards (professional)
2003 & 2004
Awarded by UNC - Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
Yale University: Ph.D., Political Science 1995
Yale University: MA, Political Science 1990
Yale University: MPhil, Political Science 1993
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill: B.A., Political Science 1989
- Studies in Social Medicine (Book Series) : Editor
- Journal of Health Politics Policy and Law : Board of Editors
Media Appearances (2)
ACA premiums in NC to rise sharply in 2016
The Charlotte Observer online
“Some premiums will also increase by less or even go down,” Aetna said in its filing with the N.C. Department of Insurance. “Others will increase by more than the average.”
But low-income residents whose ACA coverage is heavily subsidized will be shielded from the rate increases.
“The Affordable Care Act has an affordability problem once you get above the $24,000-$25,000-a-year salary level for an individual,” said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of social medicine at UNC Chapel Hill. “This is still a relatively new market and insurers are still trying to figure it out and sort through the unknowns.”
Supreme Court ruling on Affordable Care Act could leave thousands in N.C. without insurance
Fay Observer online
Health policy experts in the state are quick to say there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the court might rule and what conditions could be applied to a ruling, particularly one in favor of the petitioners.
But for the North Carolina residents who would lose their subsidies, Jonathan Oberlander can sum it up in one word: devastating.
It also would be devastating for the hospital industry, for which those subsidies turn into revenues, said Oberlander, a professor of social medicine and health policy and management at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Event Appearances (5)
Exploring the Ethical Dimensions of Refusals in Health Care
The Promise and Limits of the Affordable Care Act, Mountain Area Health Education Center, Conference on Saying No Asheville, NC.
The Future of Health Care Reform
Eugene S. Mayer Keynote Lecture, 2015 AHEC Statewide Conference Greensboro, NC.
In the ACA’s Shadow: The Fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program
Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association San Francisco, CA.
Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Progress, Pitfalls and the Path Ahead
Family Medicine Grand Rounds, UNC School of Medicine Chapel Hill, NC.
The Future of Health Care Reform: Obamacare and Beyond
Mid-sized Retirement and Healthcare Plan Management Conference Chicago, IL.
ABSTRACT: Controlling the costs of medical care has long been an elusive goal in US health policy. This article examines the options for health care cost control under the Obama administration. The authors argue that the administration's approach to health reform offers some ...
ABSTRACT: The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) has received national and international attention for rationing medical care based on explicit priorities. However, in recent years OHP has lost substantial enrollment and struggled to live up to its core principles. This paper explores what went wrong in OHP and the implications of Oregon’s experience for state-led health reform...
ABSTRACT: The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) has been widely heralded as an important innovation in medical care policy and rationing. Oregon's pioneering method of prioritizing funding for health care through systematic and public ranking of medical services has ...
ABSTRACT: The article proceeds in three sections. First, we very briefly review the original proposalsand ensuing (and misleading) debate over rationing in Oregon. Next, we explore how the politics of rationing unfolded in Oregon from the enactment of OHP to its implementation. Finally, we consider the character of Oregon's innovation and the broader lessons that it holds for reform efforts elsewhere...
ABSTRACT: The article proceeds in three sections. First, we very briefly review the original proposals and ensuing (and misleading) debate over rationing in Oregon. Next, we explore how the politics of rationing unfolded in Oregon from the enactment of OHP to its ...