The Delegated Welfare State: Medicare, Markets, and the Governance of Social Policy

Synopsis

Why are so many American social programs delegated to private actors? And what are the consequences for efficiency, accountability, and the well-being of beneficiaries? The Delegated Welfare State examines the development of the American welfare state through the lens of delegation: howpolicymakers have avoided direct governmental provision of benefits and services, turning to non-state actors for the governance of social programs. Utilizing case studies of Medicare and the 2009-10 health care reform, Morgan and Campbell argue that the prevalence of delegated governance reflects the powerful role of interest groups in American politics, the dominance of Congress in social policymaking, and deep contradictions in Americanpublic opinion. Americans want both social programs and small government, leaving policy makers in a bind. Contracting out public programs to non-state actors masks the role of the state and enlists private allies who push for passage. Although delegated governance has been politically expedient,enabling the growth of government programs in an anti-government political climate, it raises questions about fraud, abuse, administrative effectiveness, and accountability. In probing both the causes and consequences of delegated governance, The Delegated Welfare State offers a novel interpretationof both American social welfare politics and the nature of the American state.