Federal Health Policies in the United States: An Alternative Explanation

Since 1980 there has been an unprecedented shift in federal expenditures away from health and social welfare; an “electoral mandate” to reduce government’s role is widely cited as justification. Yet, a survey of all major opinion polls of the past decade shows that electoral behavior and popular opinion are not synonymous. In exploring the historical ideological roots of this disjunction, the post-New Deal rise of “interest group” over “class” behavior is noted; “depoliticization” of political issues and “abstentionism” in voting follow. Rather than a realignment, recent elections represent a dealignment from regressive choices.

Author(s): Vicente Navarro

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Volume 65, Issue 1 (pages 81–111)
Published in 1987