Nicholas (Nick) Bagley, J.D.

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Professor Bagley concentrates his research on health-care law, with a focus on Medicare and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He is also a frequent contributor to The Incidental Economist, a prominent health policy blog. His writings on the King v. Burwell case helped advance public discourse on whether ACA subsidies were available nationwide or only in those states that established their own exchanges. He was also a sought-after adviser as states looked to develop alternative policy options if the Supreme Court had ruled against the Obama administration. Professor Bagley continues to consider questions pertaining to the legality of the complex rollout of the ACA.

  • J.D., New York University
  • B.A., English, Yale University

U-M Academic Affiliation(s)

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What are you thinking about?

My recent research has focused on two broad areas. The first is on alternative ways of thinking about regulating the private health care sector in the post-Affordable Care Act (ACA) world, including the possibility of adapting the public utility model to regulate health care. The second focuses on questions surrounding the implementation of the ACA. Legal disputes over the ACA continue to be in the news and it’s a wonderful opportunity for a lawyer to get involved in the public debate.

Why is this interesting to you?

The ACA is an extensive and complicated statute. With any large, complicated statute, there are going to be legal questions that arise in the course of its implementation that those who drafted it couldn’t foresee or predict. Hidden in the ACA are some ambiguities and problems that are generating fierce legal fights. It’s really important to have careful legal observers offer their best understanding of whether the government is “coloring within the lines” as the ACA continues to be implemented across the country.

What are the practical implications for healthcare?

All developed countries are struggling with how to deliver high-quality health care services to their populations at a low cost. The ACA is the latest instantiation of the United States’ effort to do so. But technological advances and increasing costs associated with these advances are going to create challenges over the next few decades. As such, shaping the competitive and regulatory infrastructure in a way that high-quality health care can be delivered at low cost is an urgent priority.


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