Last updated on: 2/1/2012 | Author:

Brendan Nyhan, PhD Biography

Former Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Good for America?"

“For Democrats nervous about political fallout from the bill in the November midterm elections, it’s reassuring to imagine that the myths about the legislation — that it provides free coverage to illegal immigrants, uses taxpayer money to subsidize abortions and mandates end-of-life counseling for the elderly — will be dispelled by its passage…

The debate over health care reform, which was marred by false and misleading claims about the plan’s contents, provides a case study in how difficult it is to correct widely held misperceptions. Democrats cite various reasons to think that public understanding of the plan will improve in the aftermath of its enactment, but none of them are particularly persuasive…

Finally, the ‘fog of controversy,’ in the words of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is unlikely to lift. With Republicans already arguing for the plan’s repeal, health care will play a major role in the midterms and the 2012 presidential campaign. The endless debate over reform will surely spawn new myths among voters already disenchanted with President Obama and the state of the economy.

In the end, access to health care may increase, but the plague of misinformation won’t be cured any time soon.”

  • “The Fight Is Over, the Myths Remain,” New York Times, Mar. 24, 2010
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Assistant Professor of Government, Dartmouth College, 2011-present
  • Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research, University of Michigan, 2009-2011
  • Fellow, Public Institutions and Political Choice Program, Duke University 2005-2009
  • Instructor, Experimental Analysis of the 2008 Election, Duke University, Fall 2008
  • Instructor, The American Presidency, Duke University, Fall 2007
  • Fellow, Program for Advanced Research in Social Science, Duke University, 2006-2007
  • Editor, Spinsanity, 2001-2004
  • Recipient, Award of Distinction, Center on Media and Public Affairs, 2003
  • Marketing and fundraising consultant, The Benetech Initiative, 2001-2003
  • Deputy Communications Director, Bernstein for US Senate, 2000
  • PhD, Political Science, Duke University, 2009
  • MA, Political Science, Duke University, 2005
  • BA, High Honors, Political Science, Swarthmore College, 2000
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Do the health care reform laws set up "death panels"?