If you read only one book about state and federal health care policy, it should be The Great Experiment: The States, the Feds and Your Healthcare. Published by the Boston-based Pioneer Institute, it is the most articulate and rigorous presentation of issues that I have seen, a stark contrast from many papers, articles, and speeches that slide by as “informed debate” in Massachusetts and across the country. I learned more about health care policy from this book than from anything else I have read in the last decade.
While the book is constructed as a number of chapters by experts in field, it has a consistent voice and and is highly readable. There is an engaging explanation by Jennifer Heldt Powell of the politics and substance of how the Massachusetts health care reform bill came into being; and there is also a data-rich analysis by Amy Lischko and Josh Archambault of how it is working. But the book is quick to point out that what has happened in Massachusetts is unlikely to be an appropriate model for the nation.