Jonathan Oberlander, PhD

Professor Health Policy and Management
Professor and Chair Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine
Adjunct Professor Political Science

T:(919) 843-8269

F:(919) 966-7499

346 MacNider

CB #7240

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7240

Dr. Oberlander is a political scientist interested in the politics of health care and health care reform. His research and writing has explored Medicare, the political history of struggles over national health insurance, state health reform, and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Recently, he has been working on projects related to health care cost control, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and Medicare reform. He seeks to understand how American politics and political institutions shape health care policy and the fate of reform. 

In the Gillings School of Global Public Health, Dr. Oberlander teaches a course through the Department of Health Policy and Management each spring on health care reform to Masters and Ph.D. students.  In the School of Medicine, he teaches health policy to medical students. 

Honors and Awards

Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize
2006, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Teaching Excellence Award
2004, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Research Fellowship in Governmental Studies
Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.

Faculty Scholar in Bioethics
Greenwall Foundation

Research Activities
  • Medicare
  • Health politics and policy
  • Healthcare reform
  • Health reform implementation
  • Health care cost control
  • American politics and public policy
Key Publications

Leap of Faith: Medicare’s New Physician Payment System. Oberlander, J. and M.J. Laugesen.  (2015). New England Journal of Medicine, 373(13), 1185-1187.

Between Liberal Aspirations and Market Forces: Obamacare’s Precarious Balancing Act. Oberlander, J. (2014). Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, 42(4), 31-41.

Voucherizing Medicare. Oberlander, J. (2014). Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 39(2), 466-482.

Pascal’s Wager: Health Insurance Exchanges and the Republican Dilemma. Jones, D, K. Bradley and J. Oberlander. (2014). Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 39(1), 97-137.

From HMOs to ACOs: The Quest for the Holy Grail in U.S. Health Policy. Marmor T. and J. Oberlander. (2012). Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27(9), 1215-18.

The Political Life of Medicare. Oberlander, J.  (2003). University of Chicago Press.


PhD, Political science, Yale University, 1995

MPhil, Political science, Yale University, 1993

MA, Political Science, Yale University, 1990

BA, Political science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1989