Julia F. Lynch, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
University of Pennsylvania
Email: jflynch@sas.upenn.edu Discipline: Political Science Expertise: Health Care Inequalities, Public Opinion, Comparative Health Care Policy, Politics of Aging

Investigator Award
What's Fair in Health Care? Thinking with Americans about Health and Health Care Inequalities
Award Year: 2006 Many inequalities are evident in the health of Americans and in the U.S. health care system. Whites live longer than African Americans. People who earn lower incomes and work for small businesses are less likely to have health insurance coverage through their employer. Some people receive high-quality medical care while others don't. Yet little is known about how Americans view these inequalities and the policies that might reduce them. Julia F. Lynch, Ph.D. seeks to fill this knowledge gap through public opinion surveys and interviews with policy elites and ordinary people. Her project, What's Fair in Health Care? Thinking with Americans about Health and Health Care Inequalities, examines the frames that policy elites use to communicate ideas about inequalities, and how such frames interact with public beliefs about fairness to produce or hamper support for needed reforms. Lynch aims to produce information that can help policymakers and advocates better understand the complexity of public attitudes, and design policies that are most likely to generate support for change.

Background

Julia F. Lynch is an associate professor in the department of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is also a senior fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. She is the author of Age in the Welfare State: The Origins of Social Spending on Pensioners, Workers, and Children (Cambridge University Press, 2006), which was awarded the 2007 prize for the best book on European politics from the American Political Science Association. She studies the politics of inequality, social policy, and the economy in comparative perspective, with a focus on the countries of Western Europe. In 2003-5 she was a scholar in the RWJ Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at Harvard University, and has been a faculty affiliate of the RWJ Health and Society Scholars Program since her return to Penn. In addition to her Investigator Award project, she is currently collecting data for a new book exploring changes since the 1950s in elite attention to health inequalities in the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany and Spain.