The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Affordable Access, Balanced Budgets and Compassionate Care

Friday, May 20, 2022

Recent DACSS graduate Maddi Hertz began a study of the evolution of the Congressional healthcare debate from 1993 to 2012 as a project for DACSS 697D Text as Data in Spring 2021.

In this project, Hertz aimed to better understand the trends in healthcare rhetoric and policy to find out how democrats and republicans differ in their speech about healthcare, how healthcare topics changed over time and what languages distinguish republicans from democrats. The project analyzed 59,288 speeches from the 103rd to the 112th Congress.

Hertz states, “healthcare policy and healthcare reform have been a fixture of American politics since the 1940s. Throughout the 20th century, presidents who hoped to reform the system intended to either achieve or move closer to universal coverage (often referred to as “Medicare for All”). But though reforms expanded coverage, they did so at the expense of adding complexity to healthcare administration. Healthcare policy is a recurring topic of legislative debate because this patchwork healthcare system is expensive, inefficient, and still leaves millions of people uninsured.” 

Access to the poster here