Obamacare’s point guard: A parley with DeParle

2 min read

Nancy-Ann DeParle ’83, whose nearly four years in the Obama White House included serving as deputy chief of staff for policy until this past January, is best known for her role in the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. As director of the White House Office of Health Reform from 2009 to 2011, DeParle was instrumental in the enactment and implementation of that historic legislation.

During the spring semester, DeParle, a health policy expert who previously served in the Clinton administration, was a lecturer in law at HLS, co-teaching with Cass Sunstein the seminar Selected Problems in Regulatory Policy. She is also a guest scholar in economic studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

Bulletin: Do you see the passage of the Affordable Care Act as a pivotal moment in American history?

DeParle: I do—this is something that presidents of both parties, going back to President Theodore Roosevelt, have tried to achieve for our country. It fills a gaping hole in our social safety net by providing universal access to affordable health coverage, and it does it in a uniquely American way: requiring personal responsibility and building on private and employer-based markets. Now, all Americans will have health security, even if they lose their jobs or get sick.

Read the rest of the interview on the Harvard Law School website.