For nearly half a century, Theodore (Ted) R. Marmor has shaped both scholarly and public understandings of social insurance and continues today to be an important voice in debates over health care reform, Medicare, and Social Security. Now a Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Management at the Yale School of Management, as well as Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science and the Institution for Social Policy Studies at Yale University, Marmor’s scholarship in social insurance is wide-ranging, path-breaking, and extraordinarily influential.

According to William Arnone, the Academy’s Chief Executive Officer, “Ted Marmor is the leading scholar of the politics of social insurance in the U.S., and his contributions go well beyond academia. He has played and continues to play a prominent role in policy debates about social insurance programs. As a Founding Board Member of the Academy, Ted chaired the initial effort to expand the Academy’s Membership in the area of health insurance and pushed for the Academy to cultivate younger professionals. He has helped mentor a generation of political science and policy scholars who are now also shaping the direction of public discourse.” 

Marmor’s commitment to public education and engaging in policy debates is evident in everything he does. He began his career working for the government in the 1960s. He initially served as the special assistant to Wilbur Cohen at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare that is now the Department of Health and Human Services. He also served as a member of the Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties by President Jimmy Carter before working as Walter Mondale’s senior social policy advisor during the 1984 presidential campaign. He has testified before Congress on Social Security, welfare, and medical care reform. He has also consulted for a host of private and non-profit organizations and government agencies. 

“I can think of no one more deserving of the Ball Award than Ted,” said Jonathan Oberlander, Professor and Chair of Social Medicine and Professor of Health Policy & Management at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “He helped found the study of health care politics in the U.S. There can scarcely be a larger innovation or impact in academia than helping to create an entire field.”

The author and co-author of over thirteen books and more than 200 articles in academic journals, Marmor’s opinion pieces on social insurance programs have also been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Some of his most well-known books include: The Politics of Medicare (Aldine Transaction, 2000), America’s Misunderstood Welfare State (Basic Books, 1992), and Understanding Health Care Reform (Yale University Press, 1994). He is co-editor of the book Comparative Studies and the Politics of Modern Medical Care (Yale University Press, 2009) and co-authored Politics, Health and Health care: Selected Essays with Rudolf Klein (Yale University Press, 2012). His most recent book, co-authored with Yale and Academy colleague Jerry Mashaw, is Social Insurance: America’s Neglected Heritage and Contested Future (CQ Press, 2014).

Marmor was the associate dean of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Affairs, a faculty member at the University of Chicago, and lead Yale’s Center for Health Studies. He was the Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s post-doctoral program in health policy between 1992 and 2003. In 2001, the Foundation honored Ted with one of its Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research.

Marmor spends much of time his writing and speaking publicly about social insurance programs, teaching, and serving as an expert witness in trials involving issues such as health financing. In addition to being a Founding Board Member of the Academy, he is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as Institute of Medicine). He became a corresponding fellow of the British Academy in 2009 and is currently an emeritus fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. This attention to international lessons in social insurance also distinguishes Marmor’s work, which has long inspired the work of numerous other political scientists. Marmor received his Ph.D. in the history of American civilization from Harvard University.

Ted Marmor received the 2019 Robert M. Ball Award on June 27, in Washington, DC. To watch his acceptance speech please visit the event page

Learn more about:

  • Ted Marmor as part of a series of interviews with Founding Members of the Academy hosted by William Arnone, CEO of the National Academy of Social Insurance. 

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