Jonathan Oberlander

Member of NASI's Membership Committee

 Jonathan Oberlander is associate professor of social medicine and adjunct associate professor of political science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he teaches health care policy in the School of Medicine and public policy departments. He has been a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) since 2004 and is now beginning his first term as a member of NASI's Membership Committee.



“Jon Oberlander's work brings a fresh perspective to Medicare issues. His insightful book on the politics of Medicare is must reading for those interested in that program. We are glad to have him participating in NASI work,” said Marilyn Moon, Vice President and Director of the American Institutes for Research and current NASI President.


His research interests include Medicare policy, health politics, health care reform, both nationally and at the state level, Medicaid, aging, and medical care rationing. Before coming to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Oberlander served as Robert Wood Johnson Visiting Scholar in health policy at the University of California-Berkeley and as a Research Fellow in Governmental Studies at the Brookings Institution. In 2004, he was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Princeton University Center for Health & Well-being.


Oberlander is the author of The Political Life of Medicare (University of Chicago Press, 2003) and is currently writing a second book on Medicare reform, sponsored by The Century Foundation. He is co-editor of a new three-volume series (comprising The Social Medicine Reader, 2nd ed.) published by Duke University Press in 2005: Health Policy, Markets and Medicine; Patients, Doctors, and Illness; and Social and Cultural Contributions to Health, Difference, and Inequality. His articles and opinion pieces have appeared in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, American Prospect Online, Health Affairs, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Health Care Financing Review and theYale Journal of Regulation.


Theodore Marmor, Professor of Public Policy and Management at Yale University said, “Jon Oberlander is one of the most talented of the younger political scientists writing about American medical care. He is as comfortable writing a newspaper essay as composing an article and is, on the stump, an amusing as well as sharp debater. He has published widely, does book reviews frequently, and has been especially involved in the evaluation of Medicare, the interpretation of contemporary political debate over medical care, and the understanding of the Oregon Health Plan and its reputed 'reform.'”


He 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. Oberlander also currently holds a Greenwall Foundation Faculty Fellowship in Bioethics and in 2003 and 2004 was a recipient of Teaching Excellence Awards from the UNC School of Medicine.