The suppliers of legislative benefits are legislators, and their primary goal is to be re-elected. Thus, legislators need to maximize their chances for re-election, which requires political support. Legislators are assumed to be rational and to make cost-benefit calculations when faced with demands for legislation. However, the legislator’s cost-benefit calculations are not the cost-benefits to society of enacting particular legislation. Instead, the benefits are the additional political support the legislator would receive from supporting legislation and the lost political support they would incur as a result of their action. When the benefit to legislators (positive political support) exceeds their costs (negative political support) they will support legislation. (page 27)
Source: Feldstein, P. (2006). The politics of health legislation: An economic perspective (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.
1. Explain how you think the cost-benefit analysis in the statement from page 27 of Feldstein (2006) affected efforts to repeal/replace the ACA.
2. Then, explain how analyses such as the one portrayed by the Feldstein statement may affect decisions by legislative leaders in recommending or positioning national policies (e.g., Congress’ decisions impacting Medicare or Medicaid).
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