Marcia Angell

Marcia Angell, M.D. is a senior lecturer on social medicine at the Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Recent Articles

Placebo Politics

H ealth care is back on the political front burner. Not that anyone is talking about a major overhaul, like the ill-fated Clinton plan that banished the issue from polite political discourse for nearly six years. Instead, both George W. Bush and Al Gore are targeting isolated pieces of the health care system: prescription drug benefits for seniors, coverage for the uninsured, and a bill of rights for enrollees in managed care plans. This is the kind of incrementalism now blessed by conventional wisdom--a fix here, a fix there, and eventually it will all add up to universal, affordable coverage. The resurrection of health care as a political issue reflects three developments. First, after a few years of slowed inflation in the mid-1990s, health insurance premiums are again rising rapidly, partly due to soaring prescription drug costs. Second, despite our booming economy, more than 40 million people are still uninsured (although the number dropped slightly last year). Third--and most...